Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Nov. 22, 2019
Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Nov. 22, 2019
Read the new DOE guidance on changes to IEPs
New York City is under a state-ordered Corrective Action Plan for special education violations. Federal and state laws require that decisions about IEPs be made on an individual basis — not based on the needs of the school, as UFT Vice President MaryJo Ginese pointed out in a recent email sent to UFT chapter leaders, special education teachers, social workers, psychologists and school counselors. Now, the Department of Education is reinforcing the union's message. Educators of students with disabilities should be aware the DOE has given principals new guidance for implementation of IEPs. Specifically, the DOE said that all IEP recommendations must be determined by, and designed to address, the student’s individual needs. Recommendations cannot be based on the services currently offered in the school, budget considerations, availability of staff or space limitations, if those services do not meet the student’s needs in their least restrictive environment. Each student’s IEP recommendation must be made by a duly constituted team, whose members may not be selected for the purpose of ensuring a particular recommendation or discouraging IEP team members from expressing their opinions on the student’s needs. See the full DOE guidance on implementation of IEPs on the UFT website to read the full DOE statement. See the DOE’s Standard Operating Procedures Manual for special education for more information. Please use this online form to report to the UFT about mass changes to students' IEPs and directives by administrators or staff that restrict the decision-making responsibilities of IEP teams.
Teacher’s Choice allotment will be in Nov. 29 paychecks
Members eligible for a Teacher’s Choice allocation should receive it in their Nov. 29 paychecks. You must save the receipts for purchases made between Aug. 1, 2019, and Jan. 12, 2020. These receipts must accompany a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form, which must be submitted by Jan. 17, 2020. If you receive the Teacher's Choice funds in your paycheck and do not file an accountability form with required receipts by Jan. 17, you will be obligated to refund the money to the DOE. As you may recall, due to the union’s fierce advocacy and our members’ stories of how they used their Teacher’s Choice funds to enhance learning for their students, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council agreed last June to baseline funds for Teacher’s Choice as part of the annual city budget. To find out the allotment by title and other valuable information about the program, go to the Teacher’s Choice section of the UFT website. If you need assistance, call the DOE at 718-935-4000 or speak with your payroll secretary.
Apply to become a PROSE school
The PROSE panel is now accepting applications from schools interested in becoming PROSE schools beginning in the 2020–21 school year. PROSE is driven by collaboration and innovation, and the schools that become PROSE schools have opportunities to implement new ideas, share their work with other schools and develop sustainable cultures that respect teachers and all members as professionals. If the members at your school are interested in participating in PROSE, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information about the application process. The deadline for applications is Jan. 24, 2020. For more information about the program, see the PROSE section on the UFT website.
Apply by Dec. 2 for a $45,000 grant to improve your school library
Members at high-need schools are invited to apply for a grant of up to $45,000 to improve their school library through the DOE Department of Library Service’s VITAL (vital, instructional, transformative, accessible, learning) Libraries program. High-need schools selected to participate in this program will revitalize and build school library programs by engaging the school community in collaborative planning. Schools that receive grant funding will also benefit from consultation services and ongoing support to implement their plans to develop a strong, integrated school library program. Participating schools will be part of an advisory committee that will focus on aspects of library services including instruction, technology, community and programming. For more information and to apply online, see the VITAL Libraries Grant Application website. The application deadline is Monday, Dec. 2. For questions, please contact email@example.com.
Wear something ugly to the Dec. 11 Delegate Assembly
Pull out your ugliest shirt or holiday sweater and wear it proudly to next month’s Delegate Assembly. Don’t have anything ugly in your closet? Drop by a thrift store between now and Dec. 11 and find something on the rack that makes you cringe. Let’s have some fun!
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We are posting news and photos on these platforms virtually every day. Follow the UFT on social media: Take the opportunity to follow us on
- Donate a new toy for a homeless 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. Please bring toys to a UFT borough office through Friday, Dec. 6. For details, see the Toy Drive flier.
- Consider attending parent association meetings: Our close work with parent groups has forged strong bonds and support that benefit both our students and our members. Consider attending your school’s PA meetings to strengthen these bonds.
UFT’s Albert Shanker college scholarship applications 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.
Know your rights about self-treated sick days: Your members who are pedagogues should know they do not need to produce a doctor’s note after taking three or more self-treated sick days. Pedagogues may take up to 10 self-treated days a year without a doctor’s note. This is true whether the days are taken separately or some, or even all, are taken consecutively. Please note: Non-pedagogues in your chapter — including paraprofessionals, school nurses and occupational and physical therapists — are governed by a different policy. They are required to provide a note if they are absent three or more consecutive days. For more information about absences, see the Your Rights section of the UFT website.
English Language Learners
DOE’s language access policy on its website. This document describes the translation and interpretation supports that are available to parents with limited English proficiency. Services include translations of all DOE documents and over-the-phone and on-site interpreters.Read about translation services for parents: Teachers of English language learners can read the
Measures of Student Learning update: Teachers should have received an email from the DOE identifying the Measures of Student Learning linked to them for teacher evaluation. The confirmation should reflect the decisions made by your school’s MOSL committee within the parameters of state regulations. If your school did not finalize its decisions by Oct. 31, then teachers may receive an email indicating the potential MOSL remains unconfirmed. Teachers who did not receive an email or have questions about MOSL should contact their chapter leaders. If the chapter leader can’t answer the question, the chapter leader should contact the UFT district representative.
Health and Safety
212-539-0515. For more information, see the 2019 UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series flier.Dec. 3 lecture on staying healthy around the holidays: All members are invited to the UFT Welfare Fund Medical Learning Series lecture “Staying Healthy around the Holidays,” presented by clinical dietitian Cara Anselmo of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This event will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, rooms B/C. Light refreshments will be served. To register, call
Nov. 30 deadline for open enrollment for health benefits: This fall’s open enrollment for health benefits for in-service members ends on Saturday, Nov. 30. All changes are effective Jan. 1, 2020.
How to manage grief and loss: Have you experienced a difficult loss in the last year? The UFT’s Member Assistance Program offers counseling groups on managing grief. Sessions are on Thursdays, from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 50 Broadway. For more information, email the Member Assistance Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-701-9620. Enrollment is limited, so register ASAP. For a list of support group dates and to register online, see the How to Manage Grief and Loss flier.
Attend a tenure workshop: Probationary teachers should be on the lookout for an email invitation from the UFT to attend a district-based workshop about the tenure process. Getting tenure is an important milestone for new teachers. Having tenure protects you from termination without due process and entitles you to a hearing before an independent arbitrator if charges are brought against you. The UFT is eager to support you during your first years of teaching. Join your fellow probationary teachers at these information sessions to help you prepare for the tenure process.
Review your records: Members should carefully review and save emails from the DOE’s Department of Human Resources, which records all information concerning city licenses/appointments and state certification. If the information received is inaccurate, you should immediately follow the DOE’s instructions to correct errors in the record.
Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program flier. For full requirements and to submit an application, use the online form.Paid law internship for high school students: Teachers in high schools are asked to encourage students interested in law to apply for the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, an intensive paid internship program that places New York City public high school students with legal employers for the summer and exposes them to the legal profession. Applicants must submit copies of their transcript, working papers, a resume and a recommendation letter from a teacher or guidance counselor. They must also supply a document detailing their availability for an interview at the City Bar (Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., after school hours or during spring break). Students must also write a 300-500 word essay on why they would like to participate in the program and describe how at least one of Justice Thurgood Marshall's accomplishments aligns with their goals. The application deadline is Jan. 3, 2020. For more information, see the
Kwanzaa 2019 flier. The registration deadline is Dec. 12.Celebrate Kwanzaa with the UFT: Members are invited to learn about Kwanzaa and experience its joy at the UFT African Heritage Committee’s annual Kwanzaa celebration on Thursday, Dec. 19, from 4 to 8 p.m., at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St. This event will feature door prizes, a light dinner and a performance by steel pan drummers. The registration fee is $35. For more information and to download the mail-in registration form, see the
Nov. 26 deadline for DOE Sustainability Project Grant: The deadline to apply for a DOE Sustainability Project Grant has been extended to Tuesday, Nov. 26. Schools may apply for cash (up to $5,000) or for materials to support sustainability projects that have an impact. Grant focus areas include school recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, environmental education, green team support or gardening. For more information and to submit an application, see the DOE’s Office of Sustainability website.
Dec. 2 deadline to 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. 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. For more information and to nominate a colleague, see the Big Apple Awards page on the DOE website.
Nominate students to work with a professional songwriter: The DOE Office of Sustainability, in partnership with Clean Green Music Machine, is providing a unique opportunity for middle and high school music teachers and young musical artists (soloists or groups of up to five students) to work with a professional artist. The program, rFuture!, will allow students to form a partnership with a songwriting music mentor to write a song that articulates the young artist’s observations, concerns and solutions for our collective future. The deadline to apply is Friday, Dec. 13. For more information and to apply, see the rFuture! website.
Win a class trip to the movies: Are your students curious about the weather, women in science, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), layers of the atmosphere and climate change? If they are, enter for a chance to win a private screening for you and up to 100 students to see "The Aeronauts" in a local theater and one-year Amazon Prime memberships. The private screening grand prize includes transportation between your school and the theater, and popcorn and fountain beverages for attendees. Three additional winners will each receive a one-year Amazon Prime membership. Bonus: The AFT Science Cadre has formed a partnership with Amazon Studios to develop free lesson plans tied to the film, which are available on AFT’s Share My Lesson. Topics include hot air balloons, weather, layers of the atmosphere and women in science.
Update on $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,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Lion King,” “Wicked,” “Moulin Rouge!” and more. Tickets are now on sale. Register online on the Broadway Bridges website for performances from Jan. 8 through April 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 email@example.com.
send an email of support for Local 802’s position that its members deserve these residual payments. Independent research has shown that musicians in the United States lose about 75% of their income on work that is made for new media compared with typical theatrical and TV work. UFT members understand the importance of demanding fair compensation and a contract that accurately reflects the work performed. For more information, see the American Federation of Musicians campaign web page.Support musicians’ union in their contract fight: Members of the American Federation of Musicians are fighting to secure a fair contract with major Hollywood film and TV companies. The primary issue in bargaining is the union’s quest for a residual payment on “made for new media” content, i.e., those shows and movies that go directly to streaming services. The UFT and the AFL-CIO ask that you
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. 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.
read more about Tanya Pragados’ accomplishments on the UFT website.Chapter Leader Shoutout to Tanya Pragados: Congratulations to Tanya Pragados, the chapter leader at PS 175 in Harlem, for standing her ground against her principal when she tried to unilaterally departmentalize two 3rd-grade classes without the contractually required school-based option vote. Pragados called an emergency consultation committee meeting with the principal to raise the matter, but the principal refused to rescind the decision. With the support of her full committee, she called an SBO vote to demonstrate the unity of the chapter. Forty of the school’s 44 UFT members participated in the SBO vote, with 31 voting against departmentalizing the 3rd grade. “The numbers speak, the union speaks and we are standing tall,” Pragados said. You can
Salary and Personnel
register for an information session online. We are also offering this service in webinars that you can view conveniently on your personal computer. The next webinar will be on Thursday, Dec. 12. 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.Upcoming Student Debt Relief Program information sessions and webinars: 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 an overview of the range of debt forgiveness programs. The remaining fall sessions will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 4, and Thursday, Dec. 5, at UFT borough offices. Please
UFT members can count on salary increases: All DOE employees represented by the union receive pay increases the UFT negotiates in each contract. Depending on your job title, you’ll also receive other union-negotiated increases for years on the job and for attaining particular credits and degrees. For example, regularly appointed teachers receive salary step increases in each of their first eight years and are eligible for longevity increases for five, 10, 13, 15, 18, 20 and 22 years of service. Paraprofessionals get a special raise after they work for the DOE for five years, along with other pay increases as they pursue higher education and certification. To learn more about the raises you'll receive and when you'll get them, see the salary section of the UFT website. If you have trouble interpreting the salary schedule, please call the UFT Contact Center for assistance.
Parents can request a translation of their child’s IEP: Educators can support parents whose primary language is not English by discussing the availability of translated IEPs and evaluation reports during parent engagement time or when other opportunities arise. Parents can directly ask their schools for a translation or contact the DOE through the DOE website or by calling 718-935-2013. As chapter leader, you can work with your administration and UFT members who teach students with IEPs to encourage your school to share this information with families. Make it an item for your next consultation. Information about a parent’s right to IEP translation can be found on the Starting the Process and Your Rights pages of the DOE website.
Indiana teachers march for education: Thousands of teachers and their supporters, clad in red, flooded the Indiana Statehouse on Nov. 19 for Red for Ed Action Day, reports the Indy Star. The Indiana State Teachers Association and other labor groups, which organized the event, called on lawmakers to make changes in public education, especially concerning increasing teacher pay, holding districts harmless from poor performances on a new statewide test and repealing certain professional development requirements. More than half of the school districts in the state were closed, with some converting the day into an e-learning day.
Chicago teachers ratify contract: Chicago teachers on Nov. 16 approved a contract that includes pay raises, class-size limits and a pledge to supply each school with a nurse and a social worker, reports Wavy.com. The ratification follows an 11-day strike spurred by months of unsuccessful negotiations with the school district and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Union leaders said the strike forced city officials to negotiate on issues they initially deemed out of bounds, including support for homeless students. “This contract is a powerful advance for our city and our movement for real equity and educational justice for our school communities and the children we serve,” said Chicago Teachers Union President Jesse Sharkey.
City Council workers to explore forming a union: Nearly 150 New York City Council staffers on Nov. 25 will begin steps toward unionization, according to Politico. The staffers plan to launch a card campaign to gather signatures to demonstrate support for forming a union. Workers backing the union say it is the best route for addressing unrest over large pay disparities, low salaries and long hours. An analysis found that some full- and part-time employees make salaries that border on minimum wage.
Saturday, Nov. 23: The UFT’s 10th annual Queens Parent Conference runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the UFT Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., seventh floor, Forest Hills. The UFT offers a free day of informative workshops, networking, exhibits and giveaways.Online registration is closed, but walk-ins are welcome. For more information, see the Queens UFT Parent Conference brochure in English, the Queens UFT Parent Conference Brochure in Spanish or the Queens UFT Parent Conference Brochure in Chinese.
Saturday, Nov. 23: Members who are concerned about paying student loans can register for a Student Debt Relief Program webinar, which will be streamed from 9:30 to 11 a.m. After you have registered using the online form, you will receive information about how to log into the webinar from your personal computer. For more information about the UFT’s Student Debt Relief Program, see the item in Salary and Personnel.
Monday, Nov. 25: The Occupational and Physical Therapist Chapter meeting will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road.
Tuesday, Nov. 26: The Paraprofessional Chapter meeting will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Please note that this meeting will be on a Tuesday.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: Bronx-based members may attend a maternity 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, child care and FMLA. This event is for birthing parents in their third trimester. Register online. For more information, see the Bronx Maternity/Parental Workshop flier.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: Queens-based members may attend a paid parental leave for birthing parent 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, child care and FMLA leaves. This event is only for the birthing parent. Register online. For more information, see the Queens Paid Parental Leave Workshop flier.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: REGISTRATION CLOSED — Staten Island-based members may attend a Pathways to Parenting workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road. Participants will learn about their rights concerning paid parental, maternity, child care and FMLA leaves. For more information, see the Staten Island Pathways to Parenting flier.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: Brooklyn-based members may attend a Pathways to Parenting workshop from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 25th floor, rooms E/F. Participants will learn about their rights concerning paid parental, maternity, child care and FMLA leaves. Register online. For more information, see the Brooklyn Pathways to Parenting flier.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: The School Counselors Chapter general membership meeting will take place from 4 to 6 pm. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., Forest Hills. Register online.
Wednesday, Dec. 4: Members who are concerned about paying student loans are invited to attend a Student Debt Relief Program session from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT borough offices in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. Register online. For more information, see the item in Salary and Personnel.
Thursday, Dec. 5: Members who are concerned about paying student loans are invited to attend a Student Debt Relief Program session from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT borough offices in Brooklyn and Queens. Register online. For more information, see the item in Salary and Personnel.
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, Dec. 4, 4 to 6 p.m., monthly membership meeting.
Jewish Heritage Committee
- Monday, Nov. 25, 6 p.m., monthly membership meeting.
- Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m., monthly membership meeting.
New York City Art Teachers Association (NYCATA)
- The New York City Art Teachers Association/United Federation of Teachers will be holding elections for executive officers for the September 2020 to June 2022 term. The NYCATA/UFT officers are: President/Chairperson, Executive Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Note that the office of President and Vice President may only be held by a current or retired UFT art educator. If you are interested in running, please send your name, present professional position, education and a statement of no more than 250 words outlining your significant professional experience, vision for NYCATA/UFT art education and the office you are interested in. Mail to NYCATA/UFT Elections, UFT, 50 Broadway, 10th floor, New York, NY 10004 by March 1, 2020.
New York City Coaches Association
Thursday, Dec. 12, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., general meeting. For more information, see the Coaches General Meeting flier
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.
- DOE members, 212-331-6311
- DOE functional chapter members, 212-331-6312
- UFT Welfare Fund, 212-539-0500 – questions about health benefits
- UFT Welfare Fund forms, 212-539-0539 – to obtain forms
- Paid Parental Leave, 212-539-0510
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