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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Nov. 8, 2019

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - Nov. 8, 2019

HOW WE ROLL: Three members of the East-West HS of International Studies bowling team were among the 300 Queens high school members who came out on Nov. 1 for an evening of fun and camaraderie at Whitestone Lanes. The event was also a COPE drive — UFT members committed to contributing an additional $13,000 a year for UFT political action.


This Week's Focus

UFT-endorsed candidates score easy victories

Thank you for voting in the Nov. 5 election. All five UFT-endorsed candidates who support our union’s values and priorities claimed victory. With the support of UFT members, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz beat Republican opponent Joe Murray 75% to 25% in the race for Queens district attorney. As borough president, Katz invested more than $75 million in Queen’s public schools and helped remove problematic principals. Jumaane Williams, a vocal supporter of public education, defeated Republican Joseph Borelli handily in the race for public advocate, taking 78% of the vote. Williams, a former City Council member, was elected public advocate in a special election in February to succeed Letitia James after she became the New York State attorney general. Tuesday’s elections also saw victories for Farrah Louis for City Council District 45 in Brooklyn; Darcel Clark for Bronx district attorney; and Michael McMahon for Staten Island district attorney. We have many battles before us, particularly on the national level, but your votes helped solidify support for New York City public schools. See the full New York election results, including the ballot measures, in The New York Times.

First UFT Pride Committee scholarship fundraising dinner

The UFT Pride Committee invites you to attend the first LGBTQ Youth Empowerment Dinner, our inaugural scholarship fundraising dinner, on Thursday, Nov. 21. The UFT Pride Committee, through its Daniel Dromm Scholarship Fund, provides $1,000 scholarships to college-bound seniors who champion LGBTQ issues in their schools, to help them achieve their dreams. Come and ensure the health of the fund’s endowment, give respect to deserving students and show these young people we value them. The festivities, which include a student string quartet from LaGuardia HS, begin at 5:45 p.m., at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. The cost to attend is $75 for UFT members and $100 for nonmembers. The ticket includes an open bar for beer and wine and a full buffet. Our honored guests are City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, State Sen. Brad Hoylman and representatives from the Trevor Project and Gay Men’s Health Crisis. Dyjuan Tatro, a former inmate who now works as a prison reform advocate, is our guest speaker. You can register and pay online OR you can register and bring your check or money order with you to the dinner. (But please, don’t register in both places!) Register and pay online with a credit card or register and then bring your check or money order with you to the dinner.

Encourage high school students to enter the World AIDS Day poster contest

The UFT High School Division, in collaboration with the UFT’s anti-bullying BRAVE program and the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, is sponsoring a student poster contest to bring awareness and commemorate World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. We want to give students the opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, show support for people living with HIV and honor the memory of people who have died. Please encourage your students to enter this contest, which is open to all New York City public school students in grades 9–12. The deadline for submission is next Friday, Nov. 15. The student contest winners who take first, second and third place will receive $500, $300 and $100 respectively. For more information, including contest requirements and submission details, see the World Aids Day Student Poster Contest page on the UFT website. Please post this World Aids Day Student Poster flier on your UFT bulletin board.

Join a UFT academic committee

The UFT Professional Committees seek to actively engage members in professional growth through activities such as conferences, seminars, workshops, educational trips and professional recognition. There are academic committees for most licensed subject areas, including art, math, English language arts and science. You can join a committee for the subject you teach or one you would like to learn more about so you can expand your teaching skills. As a member of an academic committee, you will hear about professional development opportunities and have the support of similarly trained colleagues as you advocate for your students. You can find out more about the committees on the academic committees page of the UFT website. Use this enrollment form to join the committee of your choice. For upcoming committee meetings, see the Professional Committee section below.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • NewThe Update is online: The Chapter Leader Update is posted on the UFT website every week in the chapter leader-only section for your reference. You’ll need to log in and click on Chapter Leaders under Chapters on the home page to view it.
  • 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 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 on the DOE’s Employee Intranet (you must be logged in to access it).

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Share with Your Members

NewFlier for World AIDS Day Student Poster Contest

Flier for Toy Drive

Flier for Caregiver Support Group

Flier for Thanksgiving Coat Drive for homeless students

Flier for 12th annual Draw-a-Thon

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You Should Know

Community Service

Donate a new toy for a deserving child: The UFT, in collaboration with the Coalition for the Homeless, seeks your support to bring the joy of the holiday season to girls and boys without a permanent home. Donate an unwrapped, brand-new toy for children, infant to 16 years of age. Chapter leaders can bring their donations to the Nov. 20 Delegate Assembly or drop them off at UFT borough offices through Friday, Dec. 6. For details, including borough office contact information, see the Flier for Toy Drive.

English Language Learners

NewProper procedure for incoming English language learners: Students who transfer from one public school district in New York State to another within two years are not eligible for the English language learner identification process and must have their NYSITELL/NYSESLAT scores transferred from the originating school. The receiving school must contact the originating school to obtain the student’s home language designation and proficiency level upon enrollment.

Functional Chapters

NewSpecial election for school secretaries delegate: The June 2018 election did not fill all of the Delegate Assembly delegate positions for the School Secretaries Chapter. A special election for these positions is being held. Members have until Wednesday, Nov. 13, to nominate a school secretary for this position or school secretaries may nominate themselves. To submit a nomination, use the School Secretaries Chapter Special Election Nominating Form.

NewBorough celebrations for school-related professionals: All school-related professionals are invited to the union’s SRP Recognition Day events in their borough. The event for Staten Island-based SRPs is on Friday, Nov. 15, from 3 to 6 p.m., at the Vanderbilt at South Beach, 300 Father Capodanno Blvd. Bronx-based SRPs are invited to a celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Queens-based SRPs are invited to celebrate on Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., seventh floor, Forest Hills. Pre-registration is required because space is limited. Use these online registration forms to sign up: Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. See the fliers: Staten Island; Bronx; Queens. Save the date for the Brooklyn SRP celebration on Dec. 6 and the Manhattan celebration on Jan. 31.

NewSubmit a nomination for Better Speech and Hearing Month: The time of year is coming when we celebrate with our students how speech and language instruction has positively affected their lives and educational experiences. To that end, speech teachers are invited to nominate their students and/or colleagues so they can be honored at the Speech Improvement Chapter’s 15th annual Better Speech and Hearing Month Awards. The chapter is accepting nominations for student projects and artwork and for chapter members who wrote a professional article, received a grant, participated in schoolwide projects or website creation or presented at a school, district or professional conference. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 26, 2020. To submit a nomination, use the online form.

NewAttend Psychologists Appreciation Day: School psychologists are invited to the UFT’s fourth annual Psychologists Appreciation Day on Tuesday, Nov. 12, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, second floor, Shanker Hall. Speakers include Raul Garcia, the chapter leader for the Social Workers and Psychologists Chapter, and Don Albright, the chapter liaison. UFT Vice President for Special Education MaryJo Ginese will bring greetings. Morning workshops are available. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. You must have permission from your principal to attend. Register online.

Health and Safety

Report safety incidents to your administration and the UFT: For line-of-duty injury and Workers’ Compensation claims, prompt reporting is essential. Members should report all safety incidents and injuries to the school administration within 24 hours. Members should also use the online UFT Safety Incident Report to notify the union. 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 UFT district representative.

New Members

NewStipends for New Teacher Week: If you are new to the DOE this year and attended the DOE’s New Teacher Week on Aug. 19–20 and on Aug. 27, you should have received an email by Oct. 15 notifying you about your stipend. We have received reports that some members have not yet received compensation. If you attended this contractually mandated training and did not receive your stipend, please let the union know by filling out this short form.


NewDOE Sustainability Project Grant: Educators may apply for a DOE Sustainability Project Grant. Schools may apply for up to $5,000 of funding or for materials to support achievable sustainability projects that have an impact. Grant focus areas include school recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, environmental education, green team support or gardening. The application deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 19. For more information and to submit an application, see the DOE’s Office of Sustainability website

NewApply for the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program: Full-time DOE employees who want to pursue a graduate degree may apply for the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree by the start of the fall 2020 semester as well as fulfill other eligibility criteria. For full requirements and to submit an application, see the Mayor’s Graduate Scholarship Program website. The application deadline is Friday, Nov. 15. For questions or general information, email or call 212-386-0059.

Professional Learning Opportunities

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, held throughout the school year, cover a variety of topics including the power of oral storytelling and the use of 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., sixth 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.

Salary and Personnel

NewFinancial wellness workshop: Come to a financial wellness workshop, Money Moves, for UFT members on Friday, Nov. 15, from 4 to 6 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor. Participants will learn how to live within their means and save for short- and long-term financial goals. Topics include budgeting, getting out of debt, investing basics and saving for retirement. Register online

NewStaten Island pension clinic: Staten Island-based members are invited to a Pension Pop-Up on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., at IS 27 the Anning S. Prall Intermediate School, 11 Clove Lake Place. Debra Penny, the UFT treasurer and a member of the TRS Board of Trustees, will help explain everything members need to know about pension. Register online.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Teachers help tip Kentucky in governor’s race: Gov.-elect Andy Beshear praised mobilized Kentucky educators for their role in his close victory on Election Day, reports The Washington Post. “Your courage to stand up and fight against all of the bullying and name-calling helped galvanize our entire state,” said Beshear, who beat Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. Educators in Kentucky proved key to the campaign’s get-out-the-vote effort. As the state’s attorney general, Beshear sued Bevin over his attempt to overhaul the teacher pension plan and blocked a subpoena sought by the Republican governor to obtain educators’ records to investigate them for missing school to participate in the state’s walkout.

Push to unionize underway at Delta: The Association of Flight-Attendants-CWA union on Nov. 1 announced an organizing drive for flight attendants at Delta Airlines, reports New York Magazine. Over 40% of current employees were hired since the last vote to unionize failed in 2002, which union leaders believe explains a new excitement to join the union. Delta makes double the profit of other airlines, but wages, benefits and profit sharing lag behind those of United Airlines flight attendants by more than $14,000 a year. Delta is the only major airline whose flight attendants are not unionized.

Microsoft four-day workweek shows gains in output: Microsoft announced that an experiment that involved reducing the workweek by one day led to a significant spike in productivity, according to Business Insider. The project examined work-life balance and found a 40% boost in creativity and productivity while giving employees more paid time off and flexible working hours. The technology giant also said it reduced the time spent in meetings by implementing a 30-minute limit and encouraging remote communication.

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Events Calendar

This Week

Saturday, Nov. 9: The UFT’s 10th annual Bronx Parent Conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. The UFT offers a free, fun-filled day of informative workshops, networking, exhibits and giveaways. Online registration is closed, but on-site registration will be available at the conference. For more information, see the Bronx UFT Parent Summit flier.  

Saturday, Nov. 9: The UFT Irish American Committee will host the 44th annual Irish American Teachers Conference from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, Queens. Speakers will include Mick Moloney and Lenwood Sloan on Irish and American roots in music and dance; Geoff Cobb on the legacy of Irish American artists; and Alison Armstrong on W.B. Yeats and visual arts. For more information and to register, see the Irish American Committee flier.

Wednesday, Nov. 13: The School Counselors Chapter’s general membership meeting runs from 4 to 6 p.m., at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St. Register online. 

Wednesday, Nov. 13: The Speech Improvement Chapter meets from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G.

Wednesday, Nov. 13: The UFT’s Member Assistance Program invites UFT 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. For more information, see the Art Therapy Group flier.

Wednesday, Nov. 13: The Administrative Education Officers/Analysts Chapter and the Education Officer/Analysts Chapter meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 24th floor, room 1.

For more events, go to

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In Case You Missed It

Photo Gallery: Staten Island Parent 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.

African Heritage Committee

  • Tuesday, Nov. 19, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., The monthly committee meeting will be held at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway, second floor, room A.

Asian-American Heritage Committee

  • Wednesday, Nov. 13: REGISTRATION CLOSED — Free origami workshop. Participants will learn origami techniques to teach to children.

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 item in This Week's Focus and 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

Contributors include: Karen Alford, Shelvy Young-Abrams, George Altomare, Nancy Aromando, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Doreen Berrios-Castillo, Hannah Brown, Rashad 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, Melanie Sepulveda, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin, Liz Truly, Angel Vasquez and Miriam Vega.