Skip to main content
Full Menu

Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Oct. 25, 2019

Photo of the Week - Oct. 25, 2019

ABOVE AND BEYOND:  PS 154 Chapter Leader Beverly Dais and her fellow members at PS 154 in Harlem are recognized for their extraordinary efforts in the District 5 prom dress giveaway at Teacher Union Day on Oct. 20.


This Week's Focus

UFT endorsements for the Nov. 5 general election

The UFT has endorsed Melinda Katz for Queens District Attorney in the Nov. 5 general election. Katz, who won a close primary election with the UFT’s support, is a vocal supporter of public education and a strong advocate for UFT members. As Queens borough president, Katz invested over $75 million in the borough’s public schools and helped remove problematic principals. The UFT has also endorsed Jumaane Williams for public advocate, Darcel Clark for Bronx district attorney, Michael McMahon for Staten Island district attorney and Farah Louis for the 45th City Council District in Brooklyn. For more details, read the article on the UFT website. For more information on voting, see the items in Political Action.

Nominate a Manhattan teacher for a $100,000 FLAG Award

The FLAG Award for Teaching Excellence is a new award that recognizes and celebrates extraordinary public school teachers in grades K–12 who inspire learning through creativity, passion and commitment. The inaugural award for the 2019–20 school year focuses on Manhattan teachers. The winning teacher will receive a $100,000 unrestricted cash prize, and four finalists will each receive $10,000. The winning teacher’s school will receive $20,000 and each finalist’s school will receive $2,000; the schools are to use the money for arts-based initiatives designed by the winner. “This award highlights the powerful work going on in our public schools, and the impact that dedication has on our children and school communities,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. For more information about the FLAG Award and to nominate a teacher, see the FLAG Award website. Nominations are due by Jan. 13, 2020.

Thank you for engaging and organizing your members

Hundreds of chapter leaders seized the opportunity to engage their members in three big events or actions over the past week: Teacher Union Day, the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks and Wear Red for Ed in support of striking Chicago teachers. You showed your fellow members the power of coming together as a school community — and the joy to be had in these opportunities for fellowship. Because of your steadfast efforts, Teacher Union Day was a resounding success. More than 1,700 packed the New York Hilton for an uplifting event that reminded us of the importance of being part of a union. See the Teacher Union Day photo gallery and the video about the Above and Beyond Award winners on the UFT website. Once again, many chapter leaders organized school teams for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks to raise money for breast cancer research. See the Making Strides photo gallery  and the Making Strides article on the UFT website. Members of the Chicago Teachers Union have been on the picket line since Oct. 17 demanding smaller class size and more support staff to assist thousands of schoolchildren who don’t have a permanent residence. Your show of solidarity by wearing red on Oct. 24, sent a strong message of solidarity. See the Wear Red for Ed photo gallery on the UFT website.

Attend a Pathways to Parenthood workshop

Are you considering starting or expanding your family? The UFT offers Pathways to Parenthood workshops throughout the school year. These sessions, held at UFT borough offices, will give participants the information they need about maternity leave, paid parental leave and health insurance. Participants will also be guided through the process of using the DOE’s SOLAS system to apply for their leave. These workshops are not for women only. Refreshments will be served. For workshop dates and to register, complete the online form for your borough: Bronx; Brooklyn; Manhattan; Staten Island; Queens.

Back to top

Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • New MOSL committee teacher-level selections due on Oct. 31: By now, your school’s MOSL committee should have finalized the committee’s first task, which was to determine assessment selections for each grade and subject. The next step is to determine what courses (and their associated assessments) to include in each teacher’s evaluation. The deadline for teacher-level selection is next Thursday, Oct. 31. The DOE provides the school with a draft of each teacher’s measures that the committee then reviews. As in the past, the committee will have the opportunity to provide more than one measure to teachers who teach multiple grades and/or subjects. See the DOE MOSL guide beginning on page 37 for details.
  • New Free flu shots at the November DA: Delegates can receive a free flu shot at the November Delegate Assembly on Wednesday, Nov. 20. The vaccinations, administered by WorkWell NYC, will be available to all delegates who are in-service employees or pre-Medicare retirees who have a New York City health plan.
  • New Read the FAQ on school librarians: Librarians are valuable colleagues in schools, but often their role is misunderstood. It is more important than ever for our librarian colleagues to exercise their voice and participate fully in school and union activities. We want to help you understand how to support and include these members in the life of your chapter. Please read the new FAQ on school library media specialist roles and responsibilities on the UFT website. The FAQ, which was designed specifically for chapter leaders, will answer many of the questions you may have and empower you to represent our hard-working school librarians.
  • New Guidance on school calendar changes: Chapter leaders should be aware of the process for making changes to school calendars such as changes to afternoon Parent Teacher Conferences, early dismissals and full nonattendance days. Changes must now be approved at least eight weeks prior to the first date affected to allow time for the DOE to review and approve. You must use the SBO process for calendar changes your chapter wishes to make; this process includes the district representative approving the SBO ballot prior to conducting the SBO vote. For more information, see the Calendar Change Request page on the DOE website.
  • File your October consultation summary form: Have you held your consultation meeting with your principal for October? If you have, please file your October consultation summary form right away. Your consultation committee meeting summaries are important because they inform district- and chancellor-level consultation meetings about issues raised in schools. You may escalate an issue to your UFT district representative as well. 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 shows you how to get to the form in each location.

Back to top

Share with Your Members

New Flier for Caregiver Support Group

New Flier for 12th annual Draw-a-Thon

Flier for Thanksgiving Coat Drive for homeless students

Flier for Toy Drive

Flier for Dial-A-Teacher

Flier for LEAP to Teacher Open House

Flier for Partners through Experience


Back to top


You Should Know

Community Service

Take Action Make a donation to help homeless students: We want to make sure the homeless children attending the union’s Thanksgiving Luncheon receive new winter apparel. Consider making an online donation to the Thanksgiving coat drive for New York City public school students living in temporary housing. You may also donate NEW winter coats, sweaters, scarves, mittens, gloves and hats. The garments may range in size from toddler to adult. You may also drop off donations until Wednesday, Nov. 20, at any UFT borough office or at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 14th floor. Your chapter leader can deliver your donations on your chapter’s behalf to the Delegate Assembly on Nov. 20.

Contract empowerment

New The UFT fights for your rights: Your union understands that educators’ rights go hand-in-hand with every child’s right to a quality public education. And we fight tirelessly every year to preserve and expand your rights so you can do the best you can for the children you serve. The UFT-DOE contracts cover your rights with regard to absences and sick days, your workday, class size, benefits, safety and health, and much more. For example, teachers and other pedagogues are credited with 10 days of sick leave for a full school year of work and you can use three of those 10 days for personal business, provided that you give reasonable notice to your principal. When you log in to the UFT website, you can search your contract to find out what it says about particular topics. You can view all DOE-UFT contracts on the UFT website (you must be logged in). For more information about your rights as a UFT member, see the Know Your Rights section  on the website.

Functional Chapters

New Functional chapters on the UFT website: Functional chapter members — a school counselor, social worker or school secretary, for example —can find information tailored to their chapter’s specific needs on the UFT website. Around 40 functional chapters have their own sections, which offer important resources, chapter news, contact information for chapter representatives, contract details and more. To view the full lineup of the UFT’s functional chapters, both DOE and non-DOE, hover your mouse over Our Chapters in the top navigation of the homepage or go to the Our Chapters section.

Health and Safety

New Support groups for caregivers: Caregiving can be difficult but it does not have to be faced alone. The UFT Member Assistance Program, in collaboration with the UFT Welfare Fund’s Retiree Social Services, offers caregiver support groups to all UFT members. Participants connect in a safe and confidential space with other caregivers who are in similar situations and share experiences, strategies and tips. Sessions are held on Wednesdays throughout the school year from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 12th floor, conference room 1. To register, please email or call Christopher Chin, LMSW, at 212-598-9591. For more information, see the Caregiver Support Group flier.

Enroll now for city programs to help defray medical, drug and child care costs: The city’s Health Care Flexible Spending Account Program and the Dependent Care Assistance Program allow you to save some of your pay before taxes for certain out-of-pocket medical, drug and child care costs. When enrolling in these two programs, participants determine an annual dollar 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 for the coming plan year because you lose any money you don’t use. (The Health Care Flexible Spending Account Program has a short grace period.) You can enroll in either of these two programs until Friday, 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.

Open enrollment period for health benefits is in 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 Members

New teachers and clinicians in shortage areas can apply for loan forgiveness: Newly hired teachers and school clinicians in certain shortage areas in select districts may be eligible for the Department of Education Loan Forgiveness Program for their student loans. Your DOE hire date must be between Sept. 3 and Nov. 15 of the current school year. Eligible loans include Perkins and Stafford loans. After six years of satisfactory service, you can be awarded as much as $24,000. Applications are due by Nov. 15, 2019. For more information, see the DOE Loan Forgiveness handout. Use this online form to apply. If you have any questions, email

Resources for new teachers: Teachers with one to three years of experience should check out the new teacher section of the UFT website. This section contains information about mentoring, certification and licensing, the New Member Handbook, and much more.


New $10 Broadway theater tickets for 10th grade high school students: Broadway Bridges, a program from the Broadway League in partnership with the UFT, is offering $10 tickets to Broadway shows for 10th-graders and their chaperones. Our 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 winter 2020 include Aladdin, Come from Away, Dear Evan Hansen, Frozen, Mean Girls, Moulin Rouge!, The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Wicked and more. Tickets will be on sale at the end of November. Register online on the Broadway Bridges website for performances from Jan. 28 through March 13. Ticket requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. If you have questions about the program, please send an email to Robin Aronson at

New Draw-a-Thon for teachers and students: Teachers and students in middle and high schools are invited to attend the HS for Art and Design’s12th annual  Draw-A-Thon and Fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the HS for Art and Design, 245 E. 56th St., between 2nd and 3rd avenues. Participants have the opportunity to sketch from live models. There will be a dedicated room for costume figure drawing and a separate room for nude figure drawing. Students under 18 years of age must submit a consent form signed by a parent prior to the event or they must be accompanied by a parent for access to the nude modeling section. The admission fee is $10 for teachers and high school students (with ID); $15 for middle school students. For more information, see the Draw-a-Thon flier.

New Networking event for Virtual Enterprise: High school educators who teach virtual enterprise are invited to attend a Virtual Enterprise Networking Event with their students on Monday, Nov. 4, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise, 30-20 Thomson Ave., fourth floor, Long Island City. There will be a competition for best logo, best salesmanship and best elevator pitch. Participants are asked to bring a canned good for a food drive. Register online. For more information, see the Networking Event flier.

New fall Student Debt Relief Program seminars: Members who are concerned about unmanageable student loan debt will want to know about the UFT’s Student Debt Relief Program, an exclusive UFT member benefit that has helped many members to lower their student debt. As an educator working in public service, you may be eligible to participate in the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness and federal Title I Loan Forgiveness programs. Navigating your options and applying for the right programs is complicated, but we can help. We are offering in-person information sessions throughout the fall to give pedagogues and paraprofessionals an overview of the range of debt forgiveness programs. Use the online form for teachers and online form for paraprofessionals to register for remaining fall sessions. We are also offering this service in webinars to view on your personal computer. After viewing a webinar or attending an information session, you may make an appointment to speak by phone with a loan specialist to discuss your individual needs and create an action plan. Use this online form to sign up for a webinar. For more information, see the Student Debt Relief Program page on the UFT website.

Political Action

New Time to vote: New York State law now provides state residents with time to vote. If you require time off from your job to vote, you may now request up to three hours on an election day without loss of pay or leave accruals. You must notify your supervisor by completing and submitting a Voting Leave Request not less than two working days before the day of the election, specifying the amount of work time you require to vote. Not every employee’s circumstances will require a full three hours of time. Factors that will affect how much time off an employee needs to vote include, but are not limited to, the employee’s work schedule and the distance between the employee’s worksite or residence and polling place. For more information, see the city’s guidance to municipal employees on the UFT website.

New Become a Democratic National Convention delegate: The UFT, in collaboration with the New York City Central Labor Council, is holding a training session for politically motivated chapter leaders and UFT delegates who are interested in working as delegates for the 2020 Democratic Party Convention in Milwaukee. Participants will learn the role and responsibilities of a convention delegate as well as find out how to run their own campaign for an elected office. This training is on Sunday, Nov. 3, at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. For more information and to register, see the flier.

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, all registered New York State voters can now cast ballots in person at a polling place before Nov. 5, Election Day. 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, Rockland County and Putnam County on each Board of Election’s respective website.

Professional Learning Opportunities

Teacher Center math conference this Sunday: The UFT Teacher Center is offering a citywide math conference titled Soaring to New Heights: High Expectations for All Students in the Mathematics Classroom on Sunday, Oct. 27, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. This interactive four-hour conference will provide K–12 educators with opportunities to examine research that supports strengthening the instructional core in the mathematics classroom. To find out more about the conference and to register, please visit the registration page of the Teacher Center website.

Salary and Personnel

Work hours for substitute teachers: The workday of a substitute teacher is fixed at six hours and 50 minutes, inclusive of lunch, Monday to Friday, regardless of a school’s professional development or parent engagement schedule. Substitutes may not leave before they have worked six hours and 50 minutes, even if students have been dismissed. During the extra 30 minutes when students are not in attendance, the DOE’s expectation is you will attend 30 minutes of the offered professional development sessions or, on non-PD days, spend the time leaving an account for the teacher you covered, planning for the following day, reflecting on the day, returning and organizing class materials, reviewing records for accuracy, meeting with colleagues to obtain feedback, or carrying out other instructional/classroom administrative tasks that might be assigned to you. The daily rate of pay, effective Feb. 14, 2019, is $188.75.

Work hours for substitute paraprofessionals: Effective Feb. 14, 2019, the daily pay rate for a substitute paraprofessional is $157.87 based on a workday of 6 hours and 50 minutes, inclusive of lunch. The student day ends after six hours and 20 minutes. The school to which the substitute para is assigned has the discretion to decide whether the substitute must remain past the end of the student day. If the school requires the substitute to remain beyond the end of the student day, the substitute should be assigned to duties such as working with the classroom teacher, reflecting on the day, or attending a professional development session. If a principal chooses to release the substitute para at the end of the student day, the pay will be prorated based on a six hour and 20 minute workday.

Teaching and Learning

New Lessons on voting and elections: The AFT’s Share My Lesson website has lessons on voting and elections. Elementary students can speculate about voting requirements and learn vocabulary used to discuss elections. Middle school students can learn what a voting booth looks like and what information is on a ballot. High school students can learn about and engage in the voter registration process. You can find hundreds of lessons and webinars on the Share My Lesson website.

Back to top

This Week in Education and Labor News

Betsy DeVos fined $100,000 for contempt of court: A federal judge has fined U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for failing to stop collecting loans from former students of a now-defunct chain of for-profit colleges, reports NPR. The judge said DeVos had violated an order to stop collecting loans owed by students who had been defrauded by Corinthian Colleges. In a video statement, the Education Department said loan servicers had "mistakenly" billed about 16,000 students and parents.

Union to participate in D.C. teacher evaluation revamp: Officials at Washington, D.C., public schools have agreed to involve the Washington Teachers’ Union in a rigorous examination of its controversial teacher evaluation system, according to the Washington Post. The union has been pushing to give teachers substantial input in evaluations in collective bargaining. Elizabeth A. Davis, the president of the Washington Teachers’ Union, hopes for a redesign in a protocol she says unfairly punishes teachers.

Mack Truck workers continue their strike: At least 3,500 workers at Mack Truck facilities in Pennsylvania and Maryland continue to strike following an Oct. 12 walkout, reports United Auto Workers, the union which represents the workers, is set to resume contract negotiations on a slate of issues that remain unresolved, including wage increases, retirement, subcontracting and temporary workers, and health care coverage.

Back to top

Events Calendar


Thursday, Oct. 31: REGISTRATION CLOSED — 10th and 11th grade students, accompanied by their teachers, will attend the UFT’s college fair, Future in Focus: Exploring Unionized Careers, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor. Registrants who have questions may contact Team High School at 212-598-9217 or email

This Week

Saturday, Oct. 26: The UFT’s Manhattan borough office 10th annual fall parent conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 10th floor. This will be a free, fun-filled day of informative workshops, networking, exhibitors and giveaways. Register online. For more information, see the Manhattan Parent Conference flier

Tuesday, Oct. 29: Queens parents are invited to a workshop presented by the UFT and Hey There Beautiful about self-care. This event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 8th floor, Forest Hills. Participants will learn how to support their child's and their own self-care. Child care, dinner, coffee and tea will be provided. Register online. For more information, see the Self Care flier.

Wednesday, Oct. 30: 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.

Wednesday, Oct. 30: Members concerned about paying student loans are invited to view an information webinar 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. After, you'll be able to make an appointment to speak by phone with a loan specialist to discuss your individual needs and create an action plan. The webinar will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Register online.

For more events, go to

Back to top

In Case You Missed It

Photo Gallery: Anti-Bullying Conference 2019

Photo Gallery: March United for Public Schools

Back to top

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.

New York City Art Teachers Association

  • Saturday, Oct. 26, 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., 38th annual All Day Art Education Conference. For more information, visit the website.

NYC Association of Foreign Language Teachers

  • Saturday, Nov. 16, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Annual professional conference for all second language teachers (Language Other Than English.) Theme: World Languages Proficiencies: Celebrating Our Shift to Global Connections. For more information and to register, see the LOTE Conference flier


Back to top

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.

Send us your feedback

We are committed to making the Chapter Leader Update as interesting and relevant as it can be. Please fill out this online form to let us know what you found most valuable in this week's newsletter and how we can improve the Chapter Leader Update.

Editor: Peter O’Donnell

Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks

Contributors include: Karen Alford, Shelvy Young-Abrams, George Altomare, Nancy Aromando, 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.