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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Sept. 6, 2019

Photo of the Week

WELCOME BACK: Science teacher Deborah Paradise (left) greets Lucy Martinez, a senior in her homeroom class, at Leadership and Public Service HS in Lower Manhattan on the first day of school.

This Week's Focus

Start the year off on the right foot

Welcome back to another school year! It’s important to start the school year off with the basic elements for a strong chapter in place to ensure that your members have a voice in your school community and are kept informed and engaged. We want our members to know the UFT will support them. Please make sure that your school has a functioning consultation committee, MOSL committee, school safety committee, professional development committee and school leadership team. The Chapter Leader Checklist below has details about these committees and the chapter leader’s role on each as well as other important items to take care of in the first weeks of the school year. Please reach out to your district rep if you need help getting one of these committees off the ground. The chapter leader section of the UFT website also has lots of resources and information for chapter leaders (you must be logged in to access it). Have a great school year!

Enroll new hires in the union now

Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling in 2018, we must now enroll every new hire in the UFT as soon as possible or lose the union dues we need to serve and support all of our members. Please introduce yourself to every new hire in your school, offer your help and support, and check that they have signed a union enrollment card or, better yet, filled out the online union enrollment form on the UFT website. If you don’t have any enrollment cards, please let your district rep know. Ask your school secretary to give you a heads up when a new hire comes on board. In the chapter leader section of the website, you can now view the Nonmember Report for your school and track your progress in signing up every UFT-represented employee.

Report class sizes to your district rep on Thursday, Sept. 12

The 2018 DOE-UFT contract provides a new expedited process for handling class size violations. The new process provides for district and central-level resolutions and a fast track to arbitration to provide prompt relief to teachers and students in oversized classes. However, the UFT cannot do this work without the information provided to us by chapter leaders. We need you to report class size data to your district representative on the following school days: Day 6 (Thursday, Sept. 12), Day 10 (Wednesday, Sept. 18), Day 14 (Tuesday, Sept. 24) and Day 19 (Thursday, Oct. 3). You’ll need to obtain your school’s RACL (elementary or middle schools) or Master Schedule Final (high schools), which indicate class sizes on a given date. The first 10 school days are still an informal resolution period during which you should speak to your principal about resolving any oversize classes. We’ve fought for years to strengthen the process for addressing oversize classes so it’s critical that we take advantage of the new process to make sure it’s done right from the get-go. Class-size limits are in Article 7M of the contract.

UFT celebrates public school success in radio ad

The UFT is welcoming students and teachers back to New York City’s public school this fall with a radio campaign highlighting recent public school successes, including higher graduation rates and increasing social services for children. Describing these accomplishments, UFT President Michael Mulgrew says in the spot: “When we come together and make our voices heard, we can do great things.” The radio ads are scheduled to air through Sept. 10. The 60-second ad is expected to reach approximately three million adult listeners on area radio stations. You can listen to the ad on the UFT website.

March with the UFT in tomorrow’s Labor Day Parade

Please join your fellow UFT members as we march tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 7, with other city unions in a demonstration of the vitality and importance of the labor movement in New York City. In the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in the Janus lawsuit that sought to destroy public sector unions, it’s more important than ever that we stand together as proud union members. The UFT contingent will gather at 9 a.m. on West 44th Street between 6th and 7th avenues. We'll continue the celebration after the parade at a special family festival for our members and their families at Robert F. Wagner MS, 220 East 75th St., between 2nd and 3rd3rd avenues. Look for the sign that says “Bill Talbert Youth Tennis Center.” We’ll have a DJ, face painting, balloon artists and a bounce house for kids. A BBQ lunch will be served. Please use the hashtags #LDP2019 and #UnionProud when you post images to Twitter and Instagram during the parade. We hope to see you there! The online registration process is closed, but you are still welcome to join us tomorrow. Please bring your UFT membership card to register on site and get your wristband for the post-parade BBQ.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • Citywide chapter leader meeting on Sept. 18: Chapter leaders should plan to attend the Citywide Chapter Leader Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 2nd floor, 52 Broadway.
  • Hold your first chapter meeting: In the first few weeks of the school year, you should hold a meeting for your chapter. Use this meeting to extend a warm welcome to new educators and ask them to sign union membership cards if they have not yet done so. Please collect non-DOE email addresses and/or phone numbers for all members of your chapter for future communications.
  • Build a contact list of all your members: The beginning of the school year is a good time to develop communication strategies to keep your chapter informed and cohesive throughout the year. Make an effort to collect your members’ cell phone numbers and non-DOE email addresses. Remember, you can’t use DOE email for union purposes. You may also want to segment your list (by grouping teachers, paraprofessionals, new members, etc.) so that you can provide members with information that’s most relevant to them. When you are emailing your members, set up a UFT list in your Gmail account or whatever email provider you use to make it easier to reach them all at once. To protect your members’ privacy, make sure you put their email addresses in the Bcc: field of your email.
  • Register now for chapter leader training, Part 1: Chapter Leader Training, Part 1, is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, New York. This training is open to new chapter leaders as well as any chapter leader who has served for five years or more. We recommend that you attend all three sessions, but each session can be attended independently of the others. Rooms are limited and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. Register online. For more information, call 1-212-598-7747.
  • Chapter leader section of the UFT website in a new spot: We moved the location of the chapter leader section on the new UFT website, which launched with a new design in July. The chapter leader section is now located under Chapters. As before, you must be logged in to access the section. If you have not checked it out in a while, please take a look. We’ve stocked the section with lots of helpful information for chapter leaders.
  • Special education classes should not exceed class-size maximums and ratios: You as chapter leader should try to resolve with your principal any class-size issues involving special education classes in your school. There are two types of class-size concerns: 1) Any special class — in a District 1-32 school (12:1/15:1, 12:1+1) and in a District 75 (12:1+1, 12:1+ (3:1), 8:1+1, 6:1+1) — with more than the designated maximum number of students assigned and attending. Notify your district representative at the same time you present your rep with other class-size issues. If the issue is not resolved by Day 19 (Oct. 3), make sure your district representative has a copy of the RACL with the official class code and number of students in the class and the name of a contact person to confirm resolution. 2) Any integrated co-teaching class exceeding the ratio of 60 percent general education students/40 percent students with IEPs or maximum of 12 students with IEPs. If the chapter leader cannot resolve the issue at the school level, a Special Education Complaint can and should be filed by an individual (UFT member and/or parent) who is directly tied to the affected students. UFT members may file a special education complaint if they have the affected students and/or classes in their schedule or are serving them in some way. Note that variances expire at the end of the school year in which they were obtained, and schools must be in compliance at the beginning of the school year to be eligible for a variance at a future time.
  • Centrally funded IEP/Intervention Teacher positions:  Chapter leaders in schools that received additional funding from the central Department of Education for the IEP/Intervention Teacher position can check their school’s status on the DOE website. If the school received funding for the position, there is a specific line on the budget for an IEP/Intervention Teacher (name included). The position must be implemented as described in the posting. According to this year’s guidance, any time in the IEP/Intervention Teacher’s program not allocated to attending initial IEP team meetings, covering for special education teachers to attend IEP team meetings and providing between one and five periods of special education instruction should be devoted to providing individual and/or small group reading interventions for at-risk general education and special education students. Also, the guidance clarifies that the IEP/Intervention Teacher must not be assigned to serve as the Special Education and/or IEP Coordinator, the Special Education Liaison, the Teacher Mentor or the Model Teacher or perform other non-instructional roles. Note: If your school did not receive central funding yet it has an IEP teacher who has out-of-classroom positions, that position could have been created only through the SBO process. Schools should not implement such a position if they are unable to fully staff and provide all special education services and programs. If you have an issue with the implementation of the IEP/Intervention Teacher position at your school, please email MaryJo Ginese, the UFT vice president for special education, at
  • Form your school’s MOSL committee: Chapter leaders and their principals should form their eight-member MOSL committee for the 2019–20 school year as soon as possible. Four members are selected by the chapter leader and four are selected by the principal, inclusive of the principal and the chapter leader or their designees. Committees must meet to finalize selections for each grade and subject by Oct. 4. Review the guide for MOSL selection on the UFT website. The guidance found there will be critical to your school’s work. After these selections are finalized in the system, the committee must reconvene to assign measures to individual teachers by Oct. 31. As was the case last year, committees may provide more than one measure to teachers who teach multiple grades and/or subjects. Final MOSL assignments will be available to teachers by Nov. 15.
  • Activate your school’s professional development committee: Each school should have a professional development committee to plan and review the PD offered during the time set aside for professional learning in the contract to ensure that it meets the needs of teachers, paraprofessionals and the school as a whole. Be sure your principal meets with this committee to begin to create the plan for your school for the new school year. Please know that members of the PD committee can choose to meet during the time set aside for Other Professional Work.
  • Create your school’s Strides team: The UFT will again participate in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising walks in the five boroughs on Sunday, Oct. 20. If you’d like members from your chapter or school to walk together as a team, we need you as a chapter leader to create a team on the Strides website. Go to the UFT page of the Strides website, click “Join Us” and enter your zip code, select the location where your team will be walking, click “Join This Walk,” log in or click “Create an Account” if you don’t already have one, and click “Start a New Team.” Please include UFT at the beginning of your team name so your members can easily find it on a list, and choose “UFT” as the team company (we are in the regional section of the dropdown menu). Then complete the rest of the signup process. When members from your school or chapter sign up, they can choose “Join a Team” and select the team you created. Please extend a special invitation to new members to join your chapter’s team. It’s a great opportunity to build and strengthen your chapter.
  • Updated Step 1 grievance: Our Step 1 online grievance filing system was updated over the summer along with our website. The process is still the same; it just has a new refreshed look. In addition, if the UFT does not have a non-DOE email address on file for the member filing the grievance, the chapter leader will be prompted to enter one before proceeding. See the screenshot of the grievance entry page. See the grievance section of the chapter leader section of the UFT website (you must be logged in to access it) for more details about the process and the link to the Step 1 grievance form.

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Share with Your Members

Your Guide to the Teacher Development and Evaluation System

Flier for UFT conference on effective instruction for English language learners

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You Should Know


Consult the UFT’s 2019-20 teacher evaluation guide: Teachers, both veteran and new, may have start-of-year questions about the evaluation process. New ratings are out, and schools are developing Measures of Student Learning selections. Your Guide to the Teacher Development and Evaluation System provides an overview of the evaluation process, defines terms, and offers tips for teachers. For further information, read the Know Your Rights column on teacher ratings and see the teacher evaluation section of the UFT website.

File Ineffective rating appeals: Teachers with a year-end rating of Ineffective for the 2018-2019 school year should review the information on the UFT website and then call the UFT contact center at 212-331-6311. A UFT member representative will help them schedule an appointment and guide them through the steps to take prior to that appointment. A checklist of materials to gather in preparation for the appeal is posted on the UFT website.

Deadline for data corrections requests to correct MOSL data: The deadline for filing a data corrections request with the Department of Education is Oct. 18. If teachers believe their MOSL data is incorrect, for example, due to outdated roster information, they should ask the principal, by email, to submit a data corrections request. The principal must review the request and, if approved, submit the request using an online form to the DOE by Oct. 31. Teachers should keep a copy of any requests they send to the principal. If the principal approves the request and it leads to a correction in the teacher’s rating information, the DOE will send the teacher an updated overall rating.

Help for struggling tenured teachers: Are you a tenured teacher struggling overwhelmed with classroom issues? The UFT’s Peer Interventional Program can give you valuable support. PIP is a voluntary, confidential program that provides support for teachers who want assistance. PIP has successfully helped thousands of teachers and is a proactive step toward professional growth for teachers struggling with their craft. Teachers interested in PIP can find more information, including an online request for assistance, on the Peer Intervention Program page of the UFT website.

Functional Chapters

Functional chapters on the UFT website: If you are a functional chapter member — a school counselor, social worker or school secretary, for example — you can find information tailored to your chapter’s specific needs on the UFT website. For the full lineup of the UFT’s functional chapters, both DOE and non-DOE, go to the Chapters section of the UFT website.


Low-cost theater tickets for 10th-grade high school students: The Broadway League on Broadway Bridges, in partnership with the UFT, offers $10 tickets to Broadway shows to 10th-graders and their chaperones. The union and the Broadway League’s shared goal is to provide the opportunity for every New York City public high school student to see a Broadway show before graduation. Participating shows for fall 2019 include Aladdin, Beetlejuice, Come From Away, Frozen, Oklahoma!, the Phantom of the Opera, the Great Society, the Lion King, Tootsie and Wicked. Tickets are on sale now. Register online on the Broadway Bridges website for performances from Sept. 25 through Dec.13. Ticket requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Send an email to Robin Aronson at if you have questions.

Let's get moving, NYC!: WorkWell NYC is on a mission to get city employees moving. UFT members are invited to participate in the STEPtember Billion Step Challenge! STEPtember, a fun, month-long walking challenge in which thousands of city employees will walk, run or roll towards the collective goal of one billion steps. You can form a UFT team with colleagues or participate individually in this city-wide walking challenge from Tuesday, Sept. 10 through Tuesday, Oct. 8. Register now on the WorkWell NYC website, as registration closes on Monday, Sept. 9, or when all spots are filled. If you have questions, visit WorkWell NYC online. Don’t miss your chance to work together and help New York City reach one billion steps.

Political Action

Watch the Democratic debate with the UFT: Join the UFT political team and the Manhattan borough office team to watch the Democratic Party presidential debate on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m., at the UFT’s Manhattan borough office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor, room A/B. Special guests will discuss the national political scene. Use this online form to register. For more information, see the Democratic debate flier.

Professional Learning

Take A+ courses for a salary differential: Teachers can now take A+ courses for credit towards their 30 credits above a masters salary differential. Teachers hired on or after Sept. 1, 2019, must obtain a minimum of 18 A+ credits to earn the salary differential, unless they have already attained an additional doctorate, or an additional master’s in an approved area. Teachers hired on or after Sept. 1, 2017, but before Sept. 1, 2019, must obtain a minimum of six A+ credits, unless they have already earned their salary differential before Sept. 1, 2019. Teachers hired before Sept. 1, 2017, are not required to use A+ credits for the salary differential. If they choose to take A+ credits towards this salary differential, they must obtain a minimum of six A+ credits. College coursework also counts towards the 30-above differential, but will only be considered A+ credits if approved by the joint UFT/DOE committee.

Salary and Personnel

October’s lump-sum payment and your TDA: UFT-represented employees eligible for contractual lump-sum payments who participate in the Teachers’ Retirement System or the Board of Education Retirement System may contribute a larger percentage of their pay to the Tax-Deferred Annuity for the pay period in which they receive their lump-sum payments in October. Both retirement systems allow TDA participants to increase their contribution rate for only one pay period to help build their TDA account and reduce their taxable income. TRS members may increase their lump-sum payment TDA contribution through the TRS website secure account section using the Change Rate feature in the main menu bar. The deadline to increase your contribution rate is Sunday, Sept. 15. BERS members should contact BERS by phone at 929-305-3800 for the deadline and forms.

Apply for salary increases on the new DOE portal: The DOE launched a new Salary Application Portal, effective Aug. 27, for pedagogues and paraprofessionals who wish to apply for salary steps, differentials and upgrades. New DOE employees applying for outside experience credit and all employees applying for differentials or upgrades must use the new portal, which will work with all browsers. Salary applications are no longer accepted on the DOE Payroll Portal. Due to an overwhelming number of applications, the site may slow down and possibly freeze. As long as you apply within six months of your start date and/or conferral of your credits, you will receive arrears.

Special Education

ICT and ENL teachers can grieve excessive class preps and room assignments: Co-teachers in integrated co-teaching classes and English as a new language teachers who provide stand-alone and/or integrated instruction have the right to file reorganization grievances if they are programmed with an unreasonable number of class preparations or multiple rooms in which to teach. Reorganization grievances must be filed through the chapter leader within two days of receiving the program. When filing the grievance, the teacher should indicate the contract article that was violated and provide a description of how it was violated. Relevant articles in the DOE-UFT contract are Articles7A (high schools) and Article 7B (intermediate and junior high schools). Reorganization grievances are eligible for expedited arbitration from the end of June through the first week of October.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Kaiser hospital workers mobilize for large strike: A coalition of unions representing more than 80,000 workers has authorized a walkout that would begin in October, reports The American Prospect. A whopping 98 percent of union members voted to walk out. If they go forward, it would be the largest strike in the U.S. since 1997, when 185,000 United Parcel Service workers walked off the job. Workers fronted rallies and marches in several cities where Kaiser operates on Labor Day, including Los Angeles, Denver, Portland, Oakland, and Sacramento.

Short AT&T strike ends with a contract: Workers at AT&T will have greater job security and yearly wage hikes after a 4 ½-day strike ended on Aug. 28 with a new contract, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. More than 20,000 workers in nine Southeastern states are covered by the five-year deal, which includes a 3 percent raise this year, followed by yearly boosts that exceed the rate of inflation; fixed health care premiums; double-time pay for time worked beyond 49 hours a week; and an additional 1 percent for worker pensions during each of the next five years.

Unions plan wider reach across industries: Unions have begun rolling out plans to revive the U.S. labor movement by broadening their role across industries, reports VOX. Major labor leaders like SEIU President Mary Kay Henry are embracing ‘unions for all,’ a strategy that shifts a union’s scope from a single enterprise to an entire sector, establishing industry-wide collective bargaining. Unions would also seek to offer unemployment insurance, which would create incentives for workers to join unions and pay dues even if their specific workplaces aren’t unionized.

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Events Calendar


Saturday, Sept. 7: March with the UFT at the Labor Day Parade. For more details, see the item in This Week’s Focus.

Sunday, Sept. 22: Register for the 2019 CaringKind Alzheimer’s Walk on the boardwalk at Coney Island, Brooklyn. Join the UFT’s team and help raise funds for research to end Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The program starts at 10 a.m., and the walk begins at 10:30 a.m. We’ll meet on the boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue. Look for the UFT table and banner. T-shirts will be distributed. Contact the UFT’s Susan Perez-Gonzales at for more information or call her at 718-862-603.

This Week

Wednesday, Sept. 11: Staten Island-based members are invited to attend a Pathways to Parenthood workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road. To register, call the Staten Island borough office at 718-605-1400.

Thursday, Sept. 12: Manhattan-based members may attend a sabbatical workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Manhattan borough office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor. Participants will learn about the process of applying for a sabbatical leave. Register online. For more information, see the Manhattan Sabbatical Workshop flier.

Save the Date

Saturday, Oct. 19: ExcELLing, the fourth annual UFT Conference on Effective Instruction for English Language Learners, runs from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. For more information, see the ExcELLing flier and to register, use the online form.

Sunday, Oct. 20: The Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk takes place in all five boroughs and on Long Island at various locations. Visit to sign up for a walk.

Sunday, Oct. 20: Join us for our annual celebration when we honor UFT leaders past and present at Teacher Union Day at the New York Hilton. See the event listing to register.

For more events, go to

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In Case You Missed It

UFT’s Queens office has moved

Photo Gallery: Back to School 2019

Photo Gallery: West Indian Day Parade 2019

Three functional chapters elect new leaders

Parents can opt out of charter mailings

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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

  • Thursday, Oct. 17, 4:15 to 6 p.m., general membership meeting. Our guest is an emotional support pet, Fluffy, and his “human,” Patricia Kazas. Our topic is emotional support animals. For more information, see the Fluffy and His Human flier.


  • Friday, Sept. 20, State of Arts Education Welcome Back Open Membership Meeting at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Our speaker will be Karen Rosner, DOE visual arts coordinator, followed by a community and arts organization round table. Start the new school year with a great networking opportunity. Refreshments will be served.
  • Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., 38th annual All Day Art Education Conference.

NYCATA and Math Teachers Committee

  • Wednesday, Sept. 25, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., Exploring ArtMath/MathArt Connections: “Series in Art and the Fibonacci Sequence.” For more information, see the Series in Art and the Fibonacci Sequence flier.

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Editor: Peter O’Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, David Campbell, Evelyn DeJesus, Crystal Deoraj, Alison Gendar, Brian Gibbons, MaryJo Ginese, Christopher Grandison, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, David Hickey, David Kazansky, Lynne Kilroy, Katherine Kurjakovic, Joe LoVerde, Samantha Mark, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Murphy, Gabriel Nott, Suzanne Popadin, Cassie Prugh, Briget Rein, Nadine Reis, Maureen Salter, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Robin Sentell, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein and Liz Truly.