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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Jan. 10, 2020

The next Delegate Assembly is Wednesday, Jan. 15

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - Jan. 10, 2020

EVERYONE COUNTS: The Rev. Patricia Malcolm, the president of Clergy United to Save and Heal in Brooklyn, spoke at the UFT’s Faith-Based Breakfast on Jan. 7 on the important role the faith-based community will play in encouraging New Yorkers to fill out their 2020 Census form.


This Week's Focus

Fall observation window closes on Monday, Jan. 27

Teachers should have received half of their observations by Monday, Jan. 27, which is the last instructional day of the fall term.  If you have not had half of your observations by this date, you can file an APPR complaint on the UFT website. Be aware that you may receive an observation report from a fall observation during the spring term, but you cannot be observed in the spring term until after you have received all written reports for all of your fall observations. 

Register now for our School Counselors Conference

School counselors are encouraged to join their fellow members at the UFT’s 16th annual School Counselors Conference on Saturday, March 7, at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s theme is School Counselors Create Positive Change. Participants may attend informative workshops, network with colleagues and obtain valuable resources and guidance materials. The registration fee is $30, which includes breakfast and lunch. Register online. You must be logged in to register. When you click the link, you'll be prompted to log in. Then, select "School Counselors Conference" from the menu. UFT President Michael Mulgrew and School Counselors Chapter Leader Rosemarie Thompson will welcome participants.

Come to a UFT film series exploring African-American history

In celebration of Black History Month in February, we invite members to view the documentaries in our annual film series exploring African-American history. Following the screening of each film, we’ll hold a discussion. These free events take place on Thursdays at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. You are welcome to attend both screenings. The two films we are featuring this year are:

  • Thursday, Feb. 13: “Back to Natural,” a study of the shocking truth about hair, politics and racial identity in black communities and beyond.
  • Thursday, Feb. 27: “College Behind Bars,” the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees and turn their lives around.

For more detailed descriptions of each film and to register, see the online form. For more information, see the Black Film Series flier .

Know your dental benefits

When you enroll in the UFT Welfare Fund (effective your first day of work), you are automatically placed in the Scheduled Benefit Plan. If you select one of the UFT’s panel dentists (called SIDS), many routine procedures are free or have low co-pays. Cleaning for adults is covered every three months for free. Exams are covered every six months with a $15 co-payment. Members in the Scheduled Benefit Plan can also go to any dentist and submit for reimbursement based on the UFT Welfare Fund Schedule of Covered Dental Expenses. If you want no out-of-pocket expenses for covered dental services, Dentcare, a dental HMO, is available. The open enrollment period to change plans is in the fall each year. All eligible members and eligible dependents, as defined in the Health Benefits General Information section of the UFT website, are covered for dental benefits. For more information, see the Dental Benefits page on the UFT website.

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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • NewTalk about the 2020 U.S. Census at your January chapter meeting: The UFT is making a big push to maximize New York City’s participation rate in the Census so our families, schools and communities get their fair share of federal funding. New Yorkers have been undercounted in past censuses. This lack of participation has resulted in the loss of billions of dollars in federal funding that should have gone to New York schools, subways, roads, hospitals and much more. We are asking chapter leaders to make the Census a top agenda item in their chapter meetings in January. In addition to our Census Q&A in the New York Teacher, we now have a flier about why the Census matters and how members can take action that you can distribute at your meeting and post on your UFT bulletin board.
  • NewTell us you are a chapter leader when you call the UFT: Please identify yourself as a chapter leader when you call the union so our team at the UFT Call Center can immediately and appropriately direct your call. Chapter leaders are given more direct access to UFT departments and staff when they call.
  • Make sure your members have conflicts-of-interest training: Under New York City law and Chancellor’s Regulation C-110, conflicts-of-interest training is mandatory for all DOE employees every two years. Speak with your principal about scheduling this training through the ethics officer or superintendent if your staff has not received it in the last two years. The training, which can be conducted at your school, covers common conflict issues such as outside employment and activities; private tutoring; and accepting gifts from students and parents.

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Share with Your Members

NewWhy the 2020 Census Matters flier

NewBlack Film Series flier

NewParaprofessional Academy Math Workshop flier

NewParaprofessional Academy ELL Workshop flier

2019-20 Social Work and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Continuing Education Course Outline flier

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You Should Know


Certification program for health teachers: The Office of School Wellness Programs and the Office of Teacher Recruitment and Quality, in collaboration with Lehman College, are offering K–12 health education teachers an opportunity to apply for an 18-credit program leading to the Advanced Certificate in Health Education. The program will cover the cost of tuition and fees. Applicants must have a master’s degree in any subject area with a GPA of 3.0. Coursework, which is primarily online, begins in June and concludes in spring 2021. For full eligibility requirements and to apply, see the Advanced Certificate in Health Education form. The application deadline is Monday, Jan. 27.

Apply for an Albert Shanker Grant for National Board Certification: Teachers seeking their first National Board Certification may apply for an Albert Shanker Grant to help defray costs associated with the certification process. Candidates for the grant must work as a tenured, full-time teacher in a public school; hold a valid New York State teaching certificate; commit to and complete the entirety of the initial National Board for Professional Teaching Standards candidacy effort; and continue to be employed as a full-time teacher in a New York public school for at least one full school year following completion of the initial grant period. The application deadline is Friday, Feb. 28. Find out more information about the Albert Shanker Grant Program on the New York State Education Department website. To apply for the Albert Shanker Grant and for full eligibility requirements for National Board Certification, see the online application form.

Community Service

Time is running out to apply for the UFT’s Albert Shanker college scholarship: Make sure your high school seniors apply for a $5,000 Albert Shanker college scholarship before the Friday, Jan. 31 deadline. Each year, the UFT awards $1 million in scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible 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, candidates 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.

English Language Learners

Resources for ELL educators: Educators of English language learners may visit the Colorín Colorado website, which offers many resources for teachers working to support students striving to meet graduation requirements and standards for college and career readiness.  


New Consider a professional conversation: Midyear professional conversations are an opportunity for teachers and evaluators to reflect on a teacher’s growth and need for additional support from the school leader during the cycle of observation, reflection, feedback, support and development. These conferences are optional for teachers except those with a Teacher Improvement Plan (TIP). See your administrator if you would like to hold a midyear professional conversation. The deadline for midyear professional conversations is Monday, April 30.

Functional Chapters

NewLEAP to Teacher open house for paraprofessionals: Paraprofessionals are invited to attend an open house for the LEAP to Teacher program at various locations through August. The next session is Saturday, Feb. 1, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St. More sessions will follow in the spring. The LEAP to Teacher program provides support services to UFT members pursuing their education in any field of study at CUNY colleges in all five boroughs. LEAP to Teacher support services include pre-admission advisement, writing support, tuition benefits information and financial aid opportunities. For more details, see the Open House flier or visit the LEAP to Teacher website. You can register online to attend an open house.

NewMath workshop for paraprofessionals: Paraprofessionals are invited to Can You See Their Thinking? 21st Century Math Skills, a workshop presented by the UFT's Paraprofessionals Chapter, the UFT Teacher Center and the DOE. This training session takes place on Wednesday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 24th floor. Participants will learn about math practices and the state’s Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards. They will also learn how to better understand student thinking. The registration fee for paraprofessionals is $15 with CTLE hours and $10 without. Space is limited, and you must register online. Walk-ins are not permitted. The deadline to register is Friday, Jan. 17. For more information, including workshop guidelines and admission policy, see the Paraprofessional Academy Math Workshop flier. If you have any questions, please contact the DOE's Office of Scholarships, Incentives and Speech Programs at 718-935-4549.

NewEnglish language learners workshop for paraprofessionals: Paraprofessionals are invited to Speaking Their Language: Supporting ELL Students, a workshop presented by the UFT's Paraprofessionals Chapter, the UFT Teacher Center and the DOE. This training takes place Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 4 to 6 p.m., at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 8th floor. Participants will learn inclusive classroom practices that support the social, emotional and academic growth of English language learners and gain a deeper understanding of executive functioning and explore strategies for developing students' organizational skills. The registration fee for paraprofessionals is $15 with CTLE hours and $10 without. Space is limited, and you must register online. Walk-ins are not permitted. The deadline to register is Friday, Jan. 24. For more information, including workshop guidelines and the admission policy, see the Paraprofessionals’ ELL Workshop flier. Please note: If you attended another version of this workshop, Mindful Teaching: Creating a Culture for Language Learning, on March 20, 2019, you may not register for this session. If you have questions, please contact the DOE's Office of Scholarships, Incentives and Speech Programs at 718-935-4549.

NewGrant opportunity for Civics Literacy through Libraries program: The DOE has announced a grant to provide schools with books, curriculum and other materials related to their Civics for All curriculum. This program aims to teach students how their national and local governments work; the history of civil rights on diverse communities; how students can get involved; and the role played by the media and the internet in shaping our understanding of current events, issues and politics. Schools must have a school library program with a full-time librarian or a teacher assigned to staff the library to be eligible for the grant. For more information and to apply, see the online form. The application deadline is Tuesday, Jan. 21. 

Paraprofessionals’ responsibilities: Paraprofessionals need to know their rights and responsibilities. With few exceptions, paraprofessionals may not be left alone in a classroom without a teacher, i.e., when the teacher is called away for a meeting or is absent for the day. Paras must be under the direct supervision of a licensed teacher in a classroom or outside it unless they are a Lead Teacher Assistant. Paraprofessionals have well-defined lunchroom roles and are entitled to a duty-free lunch period. One-to-one paraprofessionals should be with their students during lunch only if it is mandated on the student’s Individualized Education Program/504 plan. In that case, the para should have a duty-free lunch at some other point in the workday. Administrators cannot ask paraprofessionals to supervise the lunchroom. In the 2018 DOE-UFT contract, paraprofessionals gained important due process rights similar to those of teachers. With rare exceptions, paras can no longer be suspended without pay for long periods while their cases are investigated. For more information, read the New York Teacher Know your rights column on the UFT website.


NewTeacher leadership positions: Teachers interested in extending their impact inside and out of the classroom may explore becoming a Model Teacher or Peer Collaborative Teacher for the 2020-21 School Year. Sign up on the Teacher Career Pathways mailing list if you are interested in receiving resources and information about these positions. The rolling application process begins in February. For more information, see the Teacher Career Pathways page of the DOE website or read the FAQ.

NewSpring 2020 sustainability mini-grant: The city Department of Sanitation and the Citizens Committee for New York City invite all K–12 schools to apply for Green Team mini-grants of up to $1,000 for expenses such as recycling and garden projects, t-shirts/uniforms, school sustainability events and eco-friendly giveaways. For full program information and to apply online, see the Zero Waste Schools website or the Green Team Mini-Grant flier. The spring grant deadline is Friday, Feb. 14. Please email if you have any questions.

Salary and Personnel

NewSubmit A+ course credits for a salary differential by Feb. 1: Teachers hired on or after Sept. 1, 2017, but before Sept. 1, 2019, must obtain a minimum of six A+ credits, unless you already earned your salary differential before Sept. 1, 2019. There is a six-month application window for teachers hired between Sept. 1, 2017, and Sept. 1, 2019, and who have completed their 30 credits beyond a master’s degree by Sept. 1, 2019, but who have not yet finalized the application process for their differential. This window will close Friday, Feb. 28. 

Financial wellness workshop on Staten Island: UFT members are invited to a financial wellness workshop, Money Moves, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the UFT's Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road. 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.

Teaching and Learning

NewState learning standards survey for LOTE teachers: Educators of Languages Other Than English may provide feedback on the draft proposal for the New York State Education Department’s Learning Standards for Languages Other Than English, which will be renamed World Languages. Please complete the online survey by Saturday, Feb. 1. You can read an overview of proposed LOTE standards or the full list of standards on the State Education Department website.

Attend a virtual conference with the AFT: All K–12 educators can hone their teaching skills from their own computers by attending the AFT’s Share My Lesson Virtual Conference from Tuesday, March 24, to Thursday, March 26. Participants may access more than 30 free webinars filled with actionable strategies for collaboration. The webinars’ speakers include AFT President Randi Weingarten on the state of public education, and Linda Darling-Hammond, the president of the Learning Policy Institute, on equity and justice. For more information and to receive notification when registration opens, see the online form. You may also submit a proposal to Share My Lesson. The deadline for proposals is Wednesday, Jan. 22. Please note that you cannot earn CTLE hours for participating in these webinars.

Attend the Youth Climate Summit: The DOE Office of Sustainability, in partnership with the Wild Center, will host its 2nd annual Youth Climate Summit, a daylong sustainability event for teachers and students on Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Participants will develop critical leadership and problem-solving skills through experiential learning in workshops, expositions and keynote speakers. Students will gain climate action knowledge and build peer networks to expand sustainability in their schools and communities. Teachers can use the online registration form to enroll students in this event. For more information, see the NYC Youth Climate Summit flier.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Women disadvantaged in student loan debt repayment: Although higher education is touted as the path to economic mobility, the struggle is harder for women than men, according to Fast Company. While women represent 57% of undergraduates, they shoulder 67% of all student loan debt. This figure is worsened by the gender pay gap, which diminishes women’s return on education. The wage gap makes it harder for women to pay back their loans. Loan defaults are expected to reach $31.5 billion in the next ten years. 

Texas parents can use FMLA to attend IEP meetings: The Texas Department of Labor on Jan. 8 declared that parents are covered by federal law to attend their child’s Individualized Education Program meeting, reports Parents reached out to the state Department of Labor and expressed their concern about leaving work to attend these school meetings, which are typically held during the workday, arguing they are as crucial as a doctor's appointment. The Department of Labor declared attendance at the meetings falls under the Family and Medical Leave Act, giving parents the right to take leave for IEP meetings.

Video game workers targeted for unionization: The Communications Workers of America on Jan. 7 announced it will organize workers at gaming and tech companies, reports Wired. Gaming employees have told harrowing stories of overwork, suddenly being laid off en masse, forced arbitration, rampant sexism, gender discrimination and workplace harassment. Half of 4,000 respondents to a survey taken at last year’s Game Developers Conference said workers in the industry should unionize. The turnover rate in the games industry is around 15.5%, higher than in any other tech sphere.

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Events Calendar

This Week

Saturday, Jan. 11: Members of the UFT’s School Secretaries Chapter are invited to the chapter’s annual seminar for school secretaries from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, second floor. This year’s theme is Networking and Growing Together. Register online.

Saturday, Jan. 11: Register for a Student Debt Relief Program webinar streaming at 9:30 a.m. After you register online, you will receive log-in information for the webinar.

Monday, Jan. 13: Staten Island-based members of the Hearing Education Services chapter are invited to attend the monthly chapter meeting at the UFT’s Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road, from 8 to 11 a.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 14: The UFT financial wellness workshop, Money Moves, will be held at the UFT’s Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. For more information and to register, see the item in Salary and Personnel.

Wednesday, Jan. 15: The Delegate Assembly will take place from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Wednesday, Jan. 15: Register for a Student Debt Relief Program webinar streaming from 6 to 7:30 p.m. After you register online, you will receive log-in information for the webinar.

Thursday, Jan. 16: The paraprofessional representative meeting takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway.

Thursday, Jan. 16: Bronx-based members may attend a Pathways to Parenthood 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 workshop flier.

Thursday, Jan. 16: 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., 7th floor, Forest Hills. 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 Queens Pathways to Parenthood Workshop flier.

Thursday, Jan. 16: REGISTRATION CLOSED — A Pathways to Parenting workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT's Manhattan borough office, 52 Broadway, 10th floor.

Friday, Jan. 17: REGISTRATION CLOSED — Social workers and psychologists will attend a free day of professional development at the UFT’s 14th annual clinician appreciation professional development day at UFT headquarters.

Save the Date

Saturday, March 7: The 16th annual UFT School Counselor Conference takes place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. For registration information and more, see the item in This Week’s Focus.

Saturday, March 14: The Paraprofessional Luncheon will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton, 1335 Sixth Ave.. More information, including registration, will be available soon.

Saturday, March 21: The seventh annual Middle School Conference will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. More information, including registration, will be available soon.

Saturday, March 28: The 13th annual Early Childhood Conference will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. Participants may attend two workshops for CTLE credit. A hot lunch will be served. For more information, see the Early Childhood Conference brochure.

For more events, go to

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In Case You Missed It

Team High School Newsletter — January 2020

Union Proud testimonial: Katelyn Bean on how the Student Debt Relief Program helped lower her monthly payments

Photo Gallery: Kwanzaa celebration 2019

Bronx Parent Newsletter — January 2020

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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, Jan. 14, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., 50 Broadway, second floor, room A, general membership meeting.
  • Friday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., annual dinner dance at Antun’s Queens Village. For more information and to register, see the Stand Up and Be Counted flier.

English Language Arts Committee

  • Thursday, Jan. 16, from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m., Deepen Reading and Analysis Through Art and Design. For more information, see the flier

Jewish Heritage Committee

  • Wednesday, Jan. 15 — CANCELED — general membership meeting.

New York City Art Teachers Association

  • The New York City Art Teachers Association/UFT will hold 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: 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 and 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 Sunday, March 1.
  • 2020 Student Exhibit Opportunity, Inside/Outside: Young Artists Unite Against Bullying IV. The submission deadline for images and statements is Thursday, March 5.

Pride Committee

  • Friday, Jan. 17, at 3 p.m., for members who live or work in the Bronx, a gathering to meet other LGBTQ members of the UFT and LGBTQ allies at Shanghai Red, 127 Westchester Square, Bronx. Free parking is available at the UFT's Bronx borough office at 2500 Halsey St.., or take the 6 train to Westchester Square.

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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, George Altomare, Nancy Aromando, LeRoy Barr, Jackie Bennett, Hannah Brown, Rashad Brown, Tom Brown, David Campbell, Joseph Colletti, Rita Danis, Evelyn DeJesus, Crystal Deoraj, Brian Gibbons, Alison Gendar, MaryJo Ginese, Anthony Harmon, Sarah Herman, Janella Hinds, David Kazansky, Katherine Kurjakovic, Junior Linton, Jennifer Long, Joe LoVerde, Samantha Mark, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Murphy, Gabriel Nott, Frank Panebianco, Marisol Pena, Suzanne Popadin, Debra Poulos, Jeffrey Povalitis, Tina Puccio, Nadine Reis, Hector Ruiz, Robin Sentell, Melanie Sepulveda, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin, Liz Truly, Miriam Vega and Betty Zohar.