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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Oct. 11, 2019

Wear pink to the Delegate Assembly on Wednesday, Oct. 16

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - Oct. 11, 2019

PINK POWER: UFT members from PS 177, with Brooklyn Strides Coordinator Katrina Foye (center) and Chapter Leader Antonella Lombardo (right), smile for the camera at the UFT Brooklyn borough office’s Shine and Dine event on Oct. 2 to honor schools like theirs that each raised more than $1,000 for the American Cancer Society last year.

This Week's Focus

Use the new UFT consultation committee summary form

Your school consultation committee, which should meet monthly, empowers chapters to attempt to resolve issues at the school level. After each consultation committee meeting, you should fill out and submit the UFT online Consultation Summary Report. We heard you and have made changes to the form and have made the form easier to access — though you must be logged in to the UFT website to do so. Chapter leaders can find the form in My Account at the top of the home page, on the main page of the chapter leader-only section of the UFT website and via the UFT app. The UFT has created a handy guide with screenshots that show you how to get to the form in each location. Your consultation committee meeting summaries are important because they inform district- and chancellor-level consultation meetings about issues being raised in schools. You may escalate an issue to your UFT district representative as well. You’ll find a guide to setting up and maintaining a consultation committee, a guide to protocols and procedures of consultation committee meetings, a list of monthly agenda topics and a pre-meeting tool in the consultation section of the chapter leader-only part of the website.

Spread the word that early voting begins on Oct. 26

Did you know that early voting begins on Saturday, Oct. 26, and runs through Sunday, Nov. 3? Thanks to a push by the UFT and other voting rights advocates seeking to make it easier for New Yorkers to get to the polls, all registered New York State voters can now cast their ballots in person at a polling place before Election Day on Nov. 5. Because a number of early voting sites are in New York City public schools, chapter leaders are encouraged to consult with their principals to ensure smooth implementation. See the list of New York City early voting locations on the Board of Elections website. UFT members should also be made aware of this opportunity to cast their ballots early. See the official early voting information and sites for Westchester County, Nassau County, Suffolk County, Orange County and Putnam County on each Board of Election’s respective website.

Listen to Michael Mulgrew discuss teacher observations

How can we make teacher observations less intimidating and more meaningful? In this season’s first episode of our podcast series “On the Record with Michael Mulgrew,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew talks with three New York City public school educators about ways teachers can take more control over their observations. The UFT recently negotiated needed changes to the teacher evaluation process, including reducing the minimum number of observations for most teachers to two a year. But real change, say Mulgrew and his guests, will only come when we change the culture around observations — when we see observations as an opportunity for two professionals to have a conversation about educational practices. "On the Record with Michael Mulgrew” is available on the UFT website, iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Watch the Democratic presidential debate with the UFT

The stakes are high in the 2020 presidential candidate selection process. We need a Democratic nominee for president who shares our values. Come out and join the UFT political team and the Manhattan borough office team to watch the Democratic Party presidential debate on Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 7:30 to 11 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room D/E. Dinner will be provided. To register, fill out the online form. For more information, see the 2nd Democratic Debate Watch Party flier. Also, please read about and view video clips from the American Federation of Teacher’s town halls featuring Democratic candidates and their positions on our issues. See the article on the AFT website.

Enroll now for city programs to help defray your medical, drug and child care costs

The city’s Health Care Flexible Spending Account Program and the Dependent Care Assistance Program allow you to set aside some of your paycheck before taxes to pay for certain out-of-pocket medical, drug and child care costs. When enrolling in these two programs, participants elect a yearly contribution amount, and deductions are withheld from the participant’s paychecks throughout the year to meet that amount. It is important that you estimate your annual expenses carefully prior to choosing this annual contribution amount for the coming plan year because money you don’t use, you lose. (The Health Care Flexible Spending Account Program has a short grace period.) You can enroll in either of these two programs until Nov. 15 for plan year 2020. Read this article for further information. Detailed information and enrollment or claim forms are available at the Flexible Spending Accounts Program website, or you may contact the program at 212-306-7760.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • NEW Send your school’s Oct. 16 photos of members in pink to the UFT: Are your members wearing pink to school on Wednesday, Oct. 16, to raise awareness about breast cancer? Take photos and post them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UFTgopink. Please send your best one or two photos (large size, with captions) to uftphotos@gmail.com for the union’s Facebook, Instagram and website photo albums. Also, we want chapter leaders and delegates to wear pink at the Delegate Assembly on that same day.
  • NEW Election Day professional development for deans: Please encourage deans in your school to attend a citywide training for deans on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Participants will learn about procedures for SAVE rooms and student removals; emergency readiness and threat assessment for school staff; investigations; suspension hearings; gang awareness; arrests in schools; and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Deans must get permission from their principal to attend this event. Register online.
  • Donate winter clothing for homeless students: Please bring your school’s donations of new winter coats, sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves and hats for homeless children to the Delegate Assembly on Oct. 16 and Nov. 20. You may also drop off donations until Wednesday, Nov. 20, at any UFT borough office or at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 14th floor. The union can accept only NEW articles of clothing. The garments may range in size from toddler to adult. For questions, contact Kim Polite at kpolite@uft.org. Please post the Flier for Thanksgiving Coat Drive for homeless students on your UFT bulletin board if you haven’t done so already.

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Share with Your Members

Flier for Thanksgiving Coat Drive for homeless students

Flier for UFT’s Anti-Bullying Student Conference for middle schoolers

Flier for UFT conference on effective instruction for English language learners

Flier for Dial-A-Teacher

Flier for LEAP to Teacher Open House

Flier for Partners through Experience

Flier for the Elementary Schools Division on Social Media

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You Should Know

Community Service

TAKE ACTION Help refugee families at the border: The Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas, provides refugee families crossing the border into the United States with warm meals, showers, medicine and other supplies. Founded in June 2014, the center has since served 100,000 refugees. The UFT Disaster Relief Fund is asking UFT members to help these refugee families. Your donation to the UFT Disaster Relief Fund will support Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley as it works to provide humanitarian relief to refugee families. Please consider making an online donation.

TAKE ACTION Donate to hurricane relief efforts in the Bahamas: Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, killing at least 45 people, leaving an estimated 70,000 people homeless and damaging or destroying as many as 13,000 homes. The UFT Disaster Relief Fund is asking UFT members to help people in the Bahamas. Please consider making an online donation.

Time is running out to sign up for Making Strides: It’s not too late to participate in the annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer fundraising walks in the five boroughs on Sunday, Oct. 20. Go to the UFT page of the Making Strides website to find your UFT chapter’s team or to walk on your own.

Contract empowerment

Use the new operational issues process to resolve workplace issues: Resolving school-level operational issues is a great way to organize and empower your chapter. The DOE and the UFT negotiated the systemwide standards covering paperwork, curriculum, professional development, basic instructional supplies, workload and space. Use this new process to quickly address issues. Submit an online paperwork and operational issues report (you must be logged in to the UFT website to access it) the day you attempt to resolve the issue with your principal through a one-on-one conversation, an email or your UFT consultation committee. From that day, your principal has five days to rectify the issue. If the issue remains unresolved, the issue may escalate to the district paperwork and operational committee. If unresolved at the district level, the central committee will attempt to resolve the issue. The UFT can take any unresolved issues concerning paperwork, curriculum, professional development and basic instructional supplies to arbitration. Unresolved workload and space issues affecting functional chapter members may be escalated to the UFT president and the schools chancellor or their designees.

Safety is an operational issue: Last spring, the DOE issued new systemwide standards for safety that incorporate existing rules and regulations on school safety. You are encouraged to learn about and use these standards. These safety issues can be resolved at the school level. You can submit an online operational issues report (you must be logged in to the UFT website to access it) the day you attempt to resolve the violation of any of these safety standards with your principal through a one-on-one conversation, an email or your UFT consultation committee. As with paperwork and other operational issues, your principal has five days to rectify the issue. If the issue is unresolved in that time, the issue may be escalated to the borough-based safety committee. If it remains unresolved at the borough level, the central committee will attempt to resolve the issue. The UFT can take any unresolved safety issues to the UFT president and the schools chancellor or their designees. Here’s the School Safety Meeting Summary template. Please contact your district representative with questions.

Health and Safety

NEW Open enrollment period for health benefits is now November: This fall’s open enrollment period for health benefits for in-service members has changed. In-service members can enroll anytime from Friday, Nov. 1, to Saturday, Nov. 30. All changes are effective Jan. 1, 2020.

NEW Member Assistance Program support sessions: The UFT Member Assistance Program offers free informational support groups focusing on a variety of topics and led by trained mental health professionals. The series is called Weathering the Storm. A support session on domestic violence will be held on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at the UFT Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road. A support session for grief and loss will be held on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at the UFT Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 25th floor. A session on problem gambling will be held on Thursday, Oct. 23, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at the UFT Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 7/8th floor, Forest Hills. Register online. For more information, email the Member Assistance Program at mapinfo@uft.org or see the Weathering the Storm flier.

Opportunities

NEW Register ASAP for training for new sustainability coordinators: The DOE’s Office of Sustainability is offering Sustainability 101, a full-day workshop for new sustainability coordinators to alleviate any concerns about the role, receive important information and plug trainers into the sustainability network. During the training, participants will have time and guidance to complete their school’s required sustainability plan, due on Sunday, Oct. 27. This training will take place on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Register online. Teachers may earn six CTLE credits for attending this training. If you have questions, please email Nichelle Hudlin at nhudlin@schools.nyc.gov.

NEW Apply for a sustainability mini-grant: The city Department of Sanitation and the Citizens Committee for New York City invite all K–12 schools to apply for Green Team mini-grants of up to $1,000 for recycling and garden projects, T-shirts/uniforms, school sustainability events and eco-friendly giveaways. For full program information and to apply online, see the Zero Waste Schools website. The fall deadline is Friday, Nov. 8. Please email schools@dsny.nyc.gov if you have any questions.

Join Team High School at the Museum of the City of New York: Team High School’s monthly citywide meetings are open to all high school UFT members. This year, we will periodically hold our meetings in cultural institutions throughout the city. On Wednesday, Oct. 23, we will visit the Museum of the City of New York to explore the current exhibition, “City of Workers, City of Struggle: How Labor Unions Changed New York.” We will also hold a meeting to discuss issues that affect our high school members. Please register online. For more information about the exhibition, see the Museum of the City of New York website.

Follow the UFT Elementary Schools Division on social media: Members based in elementary schools and early childhood settings can follow the Elementary Schools Division on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. Use the handle @UFT_Elementary for Twitter and Instagram. Find us on Facebook on the UFT Elementary Schools Division page. You can refer to this Elementary Schools Division Social Media Handle flier.

Salary and Personnel

NEW Electronic delivery of tax forms: Department of Education employees may choose to receive their W-2, 1127 waiver and 1095-C forms electronically instead of on paper. Electronic delivery is voluntary, secure and accurate. To choose electronic delivery, log in to your NYCAPS Employee Self-Service NYCAPS ESS account and complete the online form. You will receive an email by mid-January each year with instructions for accessing electronic W-2, 1127 Waiver and 1095-C forms. The electronic version may be printed or saved to your computer. If you have previously chosen electronic delivery, you do not have to re-enroll. The enrollment deadline to receive electronic delivery of 2019 forms is Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. For more information, see the DOE memo.

Lump-sum payment in next paycheck: Because you have a union that fights for you, all eligible employees now on payroll who worked for the DOE between 2009 and May 1, 2018, will be compensated for the two 4 percent raises that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave to other city employees in 2009 and 2010 but refused to give to public school educators at the time. These employees will receive a lump-sum payment of 25 percent of the money they are owed in their October paychecks. The 2019 lump-sum payment, which will be added to a regularly scheduled paycheck, is the fourth of five lump-sum payments between 2015 and 2020. For in-service teachers, other pedagogues and paraprofessionals, the money is part of the Oct. 15 check. TDAs will be updated, along with all other payroll contributions and deductions. While the calculations can be complicated, the truth is simple: You deserve this money. For more information, including payment dates for members with other titles and members on leaves, see the article on the UFT website. See this handy pay chart to learn more about the salary increases and lump-sum payments you have received as a result of the 2014 UFT-DOE contract.

No school on Dec. 23: The DOE on Sept. 24 amended its school calendar to make Monday, Dec. 23, part of the school holidays. UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “We are happy this issue has been resolved, and in a way that gives parents, educators and school communities adequate notice of the change.”

DOE parking permits effective Nov. 1: Members in schools with approved DOE parking spots who were issued temporary parking permits last spring should have renewed their parking permits through the DOE’s self-service portal by Wednesday, Oct. 9. The new permit takes effect on Friday, Nov. 1, which is when the current permits expire. Please note: The number of parking spaces available at school sites will not increase. All Department of Transportation-designated street-parking spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions, email the DOE at DOEParkingPermits@schools.nyc.gov.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Striking UAW workers feel financial pinch: Nearly a month into the United Auto Workers' strike against General Motors, employees are feeling the pain of going without their regular paychecks, reports the Chicago Tribune. While striking full-time workers receive $250 a week of strike pay, they are losing roughly $1,000 each week, not counting the overtime many of them make. The strike is also having a wider negative economic impact: an estimated 75,000 workers at auto parts supply companies have been laid off or had their wages reduced because of the strike. Waitresses, convenience store clerks and others are also seeing their hours cut because striking workers are spending less.

Chicago teachers to march for contract: Chicago’s teachers, school support staff and park district employees plan a massive march through downtown Chicago on Oct. 14 to demand a contract before a potential Oct. 16 strike, according to the Chicago Sun Times. The city has less than a week to hammer out deals with about 35,000 schools and park district workers represented by three separate bargaining units.

Judge rips into DeVos over student debt: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos could face sanctions or be found in contempt of court for flouting a judge’s order in a for-profit school ruling, reports the Los Angeles Times. DeVos has continued to collect on the debt of former students at bankrupt Corinthian Colleges Inc., going so far as to seize their tax refunds and wages. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim said she was “astounded” that the department violated her June order to stop collecting the debts from students, who had been promised refunds of their tuition.

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Events Calendar

Featured

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. The UFT hosts this conference for all educators to learn how to help English language learners reach their full potential. For more information, see the ExcELLing flier, and to register, use the online registration form.

Sunday, Oct. 20: Join us for Teacher Union Day on Sunday, Oct. 20. The UFT, as part of the American Federation of Teachers’ presidential endorsement process, will host Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at the event. Teacher Union Day celebrates our members’ recent accomplishments while remembering the brave educators who put everything on the line in the 1960 strike that forged the union and provided the impetus that made the UFT the force it is today. This event takes place at the New York Hilton, 1335 Sixth Ave., in midtown Manhattan, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $25, which includes brunch. To register, complete the online form. You must be logged in to the UFT website.

Sunday, Oct. 20: The Making Strides against Breast Cancer walks take place in all five boroughs and on Long Island at various locations. Visit uft.org/strides to sign up for a walk. For more information, see the item in Community Service.

Tuesday, Oct. 22: Bring middle school students to the UFT’s 3rd annual anti-bullying conference. This event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, Shanker Hall. Each middle school is invited to send up to 15 students from the 6th and 7th grades accompanied by a teacher, school counselor or dean. Participating students will learn strategies to help create a calm school environment. Students will receive lunch, snacks and giveaways. Transportation must be provided by the school. Each student must bring a signed UFT Parent Consent Form and a signed DOE Trip Permission Slip to attend the event. Register online. If you have questions, please contact Kim Polite at kpolite@uft.org or Bradley Alter at balter@uft.org.

This Week

Wednesday, Oct. 16: The Delegate Assembly takes place from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, Shanker Hall.

Wednesday, Oct. 16: Members concerned about paying student loans are invited to view a webinar presented by the UFT Debt Relief Program, an exclusive member benefit brought to you by the union. Webinar viewers will learn about the benefits of the program. Webinars will be broadcast from 10 to 11 a.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. Register online.

Wednesday, Oct. 16: Queens-based members are invited to a Paid Parental Leave workshop at the Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 7th floor, from 4 to 6 p.m. This is for members in their third trimester of pregnancy. Space is limited. Register online. For more information, see the Paid Parental Leave Consultation flier.

Wednesday, Oct. 16: 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. Register online.

Wednesday, Oct. 16: Brooklyn-based paraprofessionals are invited to Para Academy: What's Your Style? Collaborative Communication Workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT Brooklyn Borough Office, 335 Adams St., 24th floor. Participants will examine their own personal communication styles to develop and practice strategies for collaboration in an educational setting. The registration fee is $15. Register online.

Wednesday, Oct. 16: The UFT’s Member Assistance Program is inviting all members in years 1-3 to an art therapy group. No artistic talent is required, just an openness to explore and participate in a group setting with your colleagues. This event will take place at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway, 2nd floor, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. The registration fee is $10. Register online.

Thursday, Oct. 17: Members concerned about paying student loans are invited to attend an informational session presented by the UFT Debt Relief Program, an exclusive member benefit brought to you by the UFT. Participants will learn about the benefits of the program. Sessions will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, and at P.S. 37, 360 W. 230 St., Bronx. Register online.

Thursday, Oct. 17: Bronx-based members are invited to attend a Pathways to Parenthood workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St., rear entrance. Register online.

Saturday, Oct. 19: Members concerned about paying student loans are invited to view a webinar presented by the Debt Relief Program, an exclusive member benefit brought to you by the UFT. Webinar viewers will learn about the benefits of the program. The webinar will be broadcast from 9 to 10 a.m. Register online.

For more events, go to uft.org/calendar.

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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.

African Heritage Committee

  • Tuesday, Oct. 15, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Come to the monthly meeting of the African Heritage Committee at 50 Broadway, 2nd floor, Room A.

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.

Humane Education Committee

  • Saturday, Oct. 19, 9:30 a.m.to 6 p.m., trip to Skylands Farm Sanctuary and Rescue. For more information and to register, see the Humane Education Trip flier.

Irish Heritage Committee

  • Friday, Oct. 18, 4 to 6 p.m. Samhain meeting. For more information, see the Samhain flier.

Math Teachers Committee

New York City Art Teachers Association

  • Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., 38th annual All Day Art Education Conference.

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Calling the UFT

The UFT’s new contact center is open and can provide support with all your union rights and benefits. Call the following numbers with any questions or for assistance.


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Editor: Peter O’Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, Shelvy Young-Abrams, George Altomare, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, David Campbell, Joseph Colletti, Evelyn DeJesus, Crystal Deoraj, Alison Gendar, Brian Gibbons, MaryJo Ginese, Christopher Grandison, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, David Hickey, Janella Hinds, David Kazansky, Lynne Kilroy, Katherine Kurjakovic, Junior Linton, Joe LoVerde, Rich Mantell, Samantha Mark, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Murphy, Gabriel Nott, Marisol Pena, Suzanne Popadin, Debra Poulos, Cassie Prugh, Tina Puccio, Briget Rein, Nadine Reis, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Robin Sentell, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin, Liz Truly and Miriam Vega.