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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Nov. 1, 2019

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - Nov. 1, 2019

FUTURE IN FOCUS: George Westinghouse HS students get information on the Edward J. Malloy Initiative for Construction Skills program on Oct. 31 at the UFT’s career fair to help students learn the benefits of unionized careers.

This Week's Focus

Report safety incidents to your administration and the UFT

It’s imperative that UFT members promptly report school safety incidents. For line-of-duty injury and Workers’ Compensation claims, prompt reporting is essential. All safety incidents and injuries must be reported to your school administration within 24 hours. Members should use the online UFT Safety Incident Report to notify the union about the incident. All UFT safety reports are confidential. A UFT health and safety specialist will follow up within 48 hours of receiving an incident report. The UFT Safety and Health Department, which has specialists in every UFT borough office, can also assist schools with environmental health issues, including school construction concerns, air quality testing, the presence of mold and pest control. UFT Safety and Health Department representatives, on request, can conduct a safety walk-through at schools to help improve overall school culture and climate. For more information, contact your district representative.

Donate a new toy for a deserving child

The UFT, in collaboration with the Coalition for the Homeless, is seeking your support to bring the joy of the holiday season to girls and boys who do not have a permanent home. As is our custom, please join us by donating an unwrapped, brand-new toy for children — newborn to 16 years of age. Chapter leaders can bring their donations with them to the Nov. 20 Delegate Assembly. Donations can also be dropped off at UFT borough offices. We will accept donations until Friday, Dec. 6. For details, including borough office contact information, see the Flier for Toy Drive.

Nominate a teacher for the Big Apple Award

Nominate a teacher for the Department of Education’s eighth annual Big Apple Awards, a citywide recognition that honors full-time teachers and school counselors in New York City public schools who demonstrate strong teaching practices and enrich their school communities with rigorous instruction. “The Big Apple Award recipients exemplify the dedication and professionalism of our public school teachers,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. Following the nomination period, a select group of up to 1,000 nominees will complete a comprehensive award application and up to 250 finalists will showcase their accomplishments for their district superintendent through an interview and/or a classroom visit. Students, families, educators, school staff and community members can submit a nomination. The nomination deadline is Monday, Dec. 2. For more information and to nominate a colleague, see the Big Apple Awards page on the DOE website.

UFT’s Albert Shanker college scholarship applications now available

Do you work in a high school? Make sure high school seniors in your school apply for a $5,000 Albert Shanker college scholarship. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2020. Each year, the UFT awards $1 million in scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible New York City public high school seniors through the Albert Shanker College Scholarship Fund. Please reach out to your school’s college advisers and school counselors to make sure eligible seniors apply for these scholarships. If you do not work in a high school, please reach out to family, friends and community members who may qualify for this award. To receive a $5,000 scholarship from the fund, those selected must be accepted in a full-time, matriculated, degree-granting program at an accredited college or university. You can get more information on the scholarship and application materials on the UFT website.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • New CTE Chapter Leader Meeting: The next CTE high school chapter leader meeting will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 4:30 to 6 p.m., at Long Island City HS, 14-30 Broadway in Astoria, Queens. Chapter leaders are encouraged to bring one or two members with them to the meeting. Refreshments will be provided by the school’s culinary arts students. Register online. See the CTE event flier.
  • New New DOE guidance on school handbooks: Please make sure your principal is adhering to the guidance issued by the Department of Education about school handbooks. While school handbooks may be used to notify staff of school procedures such as safety drills and student dismissal, they may not contain directives that contradict the DOE-UFT contract. For example, handbooks may not establish a staff dress code or mandate a specific timeframe for requesting a personal day. In addition, members can be asked to sign and acknowledge only the receipt of the handbook — not that they have familiarized themselves with its contents. If you think the DOE’s school handbook guidelines are not being adhered to in your school, contact your UFT district representative for assistance in resolving any issues. For more information, read the DOE school handbook notice.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Guidance on school calendar changes: Chapter leaders should be aware of the process for making changes to school calendars on entries such as 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.

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Share with Your Members

Flier for Toy Drive

Flier for Caregiver Support Group

Flier for 12th annual Draw-a-Thon

Flier for Thanksgiving Coat Drive for homeless students

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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. Please drop off donations until Wednesday, Nov. 20, at any UFT borough office or at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 14th floor. Chapter leaders can also bring donations to the Nov. 20 Delegate Assembly.

Contract empowerment

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 DOE-UFT contracts cover your rights with regard to absences and sick days, your workday, class size, safety and health, benefits 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 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

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. About 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 bar of the homepage or go to the website’s Our Chapters section.

Health and Safety

Attend a Pathways to Parenthood workshop: Will your family be expanding this year? The UFT offers Pathways to Parenthood workshops, held at UFT borough offices, that provide information about maternity leave, paid parental leave and health insurance. Participants will learn how to use 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.

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.

November is open enrollment for health benefits: This fall’s open enrollment for health benefits for in-service members is Friday, Nov. 1, to Saturday, Nov. 30. All changes are effective Jan. 1, 2020.


NewEasier way to access UFT podcasts: We’ve made listening to our podcast series, “On the Record with Michael Mulgrew” and “Classroom Café,” even easier. You can access all content by selecting your favorite streaming service directly. Select “On the Record” or “Classroom Café” to connect to podcast providers such as Google Play, Spotify, SoundCloud and others. Check out what's featured or browse all our shows: news and conversations, information about union rights and benefits, and tips for how to forge a successful career as a New York City public school teacher.

NewThe AFT, in collaboration with First Book, is offering its members working in Title I or Title I-eligible schools an opportunity to win 30 copies of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” To enter the contest, participants are asked to write about one of the following two questions: Why do you like teaching “To Kill a Mockingbird” or what is your favorite book to teach? They must also upload the respective lesson plan. The AFT and First Book will draw the names of 25 winners every two weeks through Dec. 13. Participants may enter more than once. This contest is open to educators in middle schools and high schools. For full details, see the Share My Lesson website.

$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 Musical, 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

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’s 12th 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 Second and Third avenues. Participants have the opportunity to sketch 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.

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., 4th 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.

Political Action

Take Action UFT endorsements for the Nov. 5 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 help, is a vocal supporter of public education and a strong advocate for UFT members. 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.

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 is available until Nov. 3: Did you know early voting 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. See the list of New York City early voting locations on the Board of Elections website and 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

New Citywide conference for science teachers: All K–12 educators and paraprofessionals of science are invited to Exploring Phenomena: Teaching in Three Dimensions, a citywide science conference presented by the UFT Teacher Center. This training will take place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this conference, educators will explore ways to actively engage students in science practices that will deepen their understanding of science phenomena, increase student motivation and give students ownership of their content learning. Participants will receive five CTLE credits. The registration fee is $40 for teachers and $30 for paraprofessionals. Register online.

New  Workshops for early childhood educators: Early childhood and elementary school educators should speak with their principals about attending four-hour professional development workshops presented by the CUNY Creative Arts Team. The workshops are held throughout the school year and cover a variety of topics, including the power of oral storytelling and using puppets in the classroom. The next workshop, Moving from Classroom Management to Student Engagement, is on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Creative Arts Team, 101 W. 31st St., 6th floor training room. Participants must submit DOE form OP-201 to their payroll secretary. For more information and to register online, see the Creative Arts Team website. For a full list of workshops, see the Creative Arts Team Professional Development flier.


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.

Salary and Personnel

New Workshops on the Tax Deferred Annuity: The UFT Pension Department offers workshops to teach members about the TRS Tax-Deferred Annuity. The TDA is an excellent way to save additional money for your retirement. These workshops are designed for both members enrolled in the TDA as well as those who have not yet exercised this option. The workshops are usually offered from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. at UFT borough offices. Upcoming workshops will be held on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Staten Island borough office and the Brooklyn borough office, and on Thursday, Nov. 14, at the Manhattan borough office. Please register online: Staten Island; Brooklyn; Manhattan.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Chicago teachers reach tentative deal, return to work: Members of the Chicago Teachers Union returned to work on Nov. 1 after the union reached a tentative agreement with Mayor Lori Lightfoot, report the Huff Post and the Chicago Tribune. The mayor agreed that teachers can make up and be paid for five of the 11 days spent on the picket lines. The five-year deal, which adds about $500 million a year to the union’s previous $2.6 billion contract, includes significant gains on staffing and class size, though teachers didn’t get most of the prep time they sought.

New York City student homelessness rate at 10%: A new report finds 1 in 10 New York City students lacked stable housing in the 2019–20 school year, according to Chalkbeat. The advocacy group Advocates for Children found there were 114,085 students living in temporary housing at district and charter schools, 85% of whom are black or Hispanic. The number of homeless students — defined as children in shelters or doubling up with family, friends or others — dipped nominally last year but has steadily increased since the 2014-2015 school year. Home instability can have a profound impact on student attendance and academic outcomes.

Troubled Tennessee charter network gets temporary reprieve: The Tennessee State Board of Education overturned a decision by the Nashville public schools board to close a troubled charter school network, according to the Tennessean. Knowledge Academies, which runs three schools in Nashville, will instead be monitored to correct issues of poor academics, the use of unlicensed teachers and financial issues including allegations of fraud, mismanagement of funds and failure to meet payroll.

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Events Calendar

This Week

Saturday, Nov. 2: The UFT’s 10th annual Staten Island Parent Conference runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at IS 2, 333 Midland Ave. The UFT offers a free, fun-filled day of informative workshops, networking, exhibits and giveaways. Register online. For more information, see the Staten Island Parent Conference brochure in English and the Staten Island Parent Conference brochure in Spanish.

Wednesday, Nov. 6: 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, Nov. 6: Staten Island-based members may attend a Pathways to Parenting workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road. Participants will learn about their rights concerning paid parental, maternity, child care and FMLA leaves. Register online. For more information, see the Staten Island Pathways to Parenting flier.

Wednesday, Nov. 6: Queens-based members may attend a maternity and child care leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills. Participants will learn about their rights concerning paid parental, maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. This event is for birthing parents in their third trimester. For more information, see the Queens Maternity Workshop flier. Register online.

Wednesday, Nov. 6: Bronx-based members may attend a maternity and child care leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Participants will learn about the following types of leave: paid parental, maternity, childcare and FMLA. This event is for birthing parents in their third trimester. Register online. For more information, see the Bronx Maternity Workshop flier.

Thursday, Nov. 7: REGISTRATION CLOSED — Manhattan-based members are attending a maternity and parental leave workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Manhattan borough office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor.

Thursday, Nov. 7: Queens-based members may attend a Pathways to Parenthood workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills. Participants will learn about their rights concerning paid parental, maternity, childcare and FMLA leaves. This event is for all members. For more information, see the Queens Pathways to Parenthood Workshop flier. Register online.

Thursday, Nov. 7: All members are invited to the UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series lecture Updates in the Medical Treatment of Breast Cancer, presented by Dr. Larry Norton, the deputy physician-in-chief for breast cancer programs at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This event takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, rooms D/E. Light refreshments will be served. To register, call the Health and Cancer hotline at 212-539-0510.

For more events, go to

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In Case You Missed It

Photo Gallery: Future in Focus

Photo Gallery: Meet the President for District 79, 2019

Photo Gallery: UFT Manhattan Parent Conference 2019

Photo Gallery: Sailing back in time

Photo Gallery: NYCATA/UFT Art Education Conference 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.

Asian-American Heritage Committee

  • Wednesday, Nov. 6, 4 to 6 p.m., general membership meeting.

English Language Arts Committee

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.) The theme is World Languages Proficiencies: Celebrating Our Shift to Global Connections. For more information, see the LOTE Conference flier or register online.



  • Thursday, Nov. 21, 5:45 to 9 p.m., LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Dinner. For more information, see the Pride Committee flier.

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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

Karen Alford, Shelvy Young-Abrams, George Altomare, Nancy Aromando, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, David Campbell, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, 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, Frank Panebianco, Marisol Pena, Suzanne Popadin, Debra Poulos, Cassie Prugh, Tina Puccio, Briget Rein, Nadine Reis, Sterling Roberson, Nanette Sanchez-Rosario, Hector Ruiz, Robin Sentell, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin, Liz Truly and Miriam Vega.