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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Jan. 17, 2020

Photo of the Week

Photo of the Week - Jan. 17, 2020

A SNEAK PEEK: At the Jan. 15 Delegate Assembly, UFT President Michael Mulgrew gave a preview of the Chapter Leader Community, a new digital space where chapter leaders can organize and problem-solve that will launch in February.

This Week's Focus

A Census PowerPoint presentation for your chapter meeting

As part of the UFT’s big push to maximize New York City’s participation rate in the U.S. Census this year, we’re providing chapter leaders with a PowerPoint presentation on the Census to share with members at their chapter meetings. President Mulgrew gave the same presentation at the Jan. 15 Delegate Assembly. It explains how New York lost — and continues to lose — hundreds of millions of federal dollars for schools and other vital services because the city and state were undercounted in the 2010 Census. The PowerPoint lays out what UFT members can do to prevent that from happening again in 2020. The chapter leader version of the presentation also shows the 2010 Census participation numbers for scores of hard-to-count neighborhoods across New York City. We also have a Q&A on the Census and a flier about why the Census matters and how members can take action. You can distribute the flier at your meeting and post it on your UFT bulletin board.

Registration is open for the Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon

Paraprofessionals are encouraged to attend the UFT’s 39th annual Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon on Saturday, March 14. This event will be held at the New York Hilton at 1335 Sixth Ave., from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This year’s theme is All Aboard: Navigating the Needs of Culturally Diverse Learners. There will an awards ceremony and workshops on a range of topics including academic vocabulary, self-advocacy and creating a safe and inclusive school environment. Participants will also be able to take advantage of wellness activities such as a health fair, meditation and yoga classes. The registration fee is $25 without CTLE credit and $40 with CTLE credit. For a full list of workshops and the festival agenda, see the Paraprofessional Festival Awards and Luncheon flier. To register, use the online form. The registration deadline is Feb. 28.


Your right to privacy concerning medical absences and bereavement leaves

When you take a sick day, your principal cannot ask you for specific medical information, which includes asking you probing questions. Under the law, an employer can only ask for limited and general information about why you were absent from work. In the case of a lengthy absence, central DOE can ask when you expect to return. In certain instances, you may be required to provide a doctor’s note, but your administrator cannot require that it include medical information. For more information about absences, including an FAQ, see the Absences page on the UFT website. If a member of your immediate family or household dies, you are granted bereavement leave for the day of death plus the next three calendar days (excluding weekends and holidays, but not beyond the ninth calendar day from the day of death). You are granted up to one day for the death of a relative outside of your immediate family or household. These absences are classified as “non-attendance days.” Upon return from a bereavement leave, you must submit DOE form OP-201 to your payroll secretary. Your supervisor may not ask you for documentation – such as a death certificate, obituary or funeral program – as a condition for granting bereavement leave, except in unusual circumstances. For more information on bereavement leave, see DOE Special Circular 16 and the DOE Memo.

Make sure you are part of your school’s safety committee

According to the DOE-UFT contract, every school must establish a safety committee that meets at least once a month. The UFT chapter leader is a mandatory member of the committee and must be provided coverage to attend meetings, if necessary. The school safety committee is responsible for developing a comprehensive safety plan that is updated and signed by all committee members annually. Within two days of each safety committee meeting, minutes of the meeting should be distributed to the chapter leader and other staff. If there is a safety issue at your school that needs to be addressed, such as students congregating in areas of the school that are not adequately patrolled by school safety agents, you have the right to bring this issue up for discussion at the next safety meeting or for resolution through the newly negotiated process for addressing workplace issues.


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Your Chapter Leader Checklist

  • New Discuss the Middle School Quality Initiative with your principal: Chapter leaders in middle schools should talk with their principals about the Middle School Quality Initiative for the 2020–21 school year. The program aims to strengthen literacy schoolwide by providing student funding and site-based coaching services. Participating schools also receive three years of support from Middle School Quality Initiative coaches in crafting and implementing annual literacy action plans that are aligned to your school’s Comprehensive Educational Plan. Principals must apply online for this program by Friday, Jan. 31.
  • New Training sessions for MAP Growth assessments: Chapter leaders who work in schools that administer the MAP Growth assessments should consult with their principals to make sure that staff attends the appropriate training sessions for this year’s test. All training sessions, which will take place through the end of January, will cover the following topics: administration preparation and proctoring, technical setup, and reports to support IEPs. and reports to support IEPs. If you have not yet held your January consultation with your principal, consider adding this item to your agenda.
  • New Attend meetings about school construction work: In schools undergoing construction or renovation by the School Construction Authority, building stakeholders including principals, custodial engineers and chapter leaders must meet regularly with the School Construction Authority project officer to get updates on the progress of the construction and find out what to expect in the coming weeks. As a chapter leader, make sure you are included in these meetings so you can share the information with your chapter. Any dust and safety complaints from members can be registered and addressed at these meetings. If your concerns remain unresolved, the UFT can dispatch a health and safety representative or an industrial hygienist to assist you.
  • New Guidance for outdoor play during cold weather: Chapter leaders in elementary schools should confirm with their principal that students have the opportunity to play outside whenever possible. Unless it is snowing, there is ice on the school’s playground, or the wind chill factor produces a temperature below zero degrees Fahrenheit, temperature alone should not be a barrier to outdoor play. As the weather gets colder, this is a great item for your next consultation.
  • Tell 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.

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Share with Your Members

New Sabbatical Workshop flier

New Paraprofessional Festival Awards and Luncheon flier

New Newly Appointed School Counselors Meet and Greet flier

Why the 2020 Census Matters flier

Black Film Series flier

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

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You Should Know

English Language Learners

New Use our ELL advocacy tool for your students: UFT members can use the union’s English language learners complaint form to advocate for their English language learner students. Use this form to tell us how a school is ignoring or curtailing a parent’s rights, or if a school fails to provide a student with required educational services, especially those services required under Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154. We also want to know if educators receive appropriate and sufficient professional development to help serve English language learners. We ask for identifying information on this form so a UFT liaison can directly verify the claim with you, but this is a confidential complaint process. We will not share your name or any information with administrative, supervisory or managerial staff at the Department of Education without your consent. The form and other resources can be found in the English Language Learners section of the UFT website.


Fall observation window closes on Monday, Jan. 27: Teachers should have received half of their observations by Monday, Jan. 27, which is the last 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. You could 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 written reports for all your fall observations. 

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 Thursday, April 30.

Functional Chapters

LEAP to Teacher open house for paraprofessionals: Paraprofessionals may 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. Register online to attend an open house.

English language learners workshop for paraprofessionals: Paraprofessionals may attend a workshop, Speaking Their Language: Supporting ELL Students. The workshop is presented by the UFT 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. 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.

Grant 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.

Health and Safety

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 through the Self Insured Dental Services (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’s 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.


New Divine Nine mixer: The UFT Divine Nine Committee invites UFT members who belong to one of the nine fraternities and sororities, many of which began at historically black colleges and universities, to a networking event. The event is on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m., at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, Shanker Hall. Food and beverages will be served. Register online. See the Divine Nine Mixer flier.

Teacher 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.

Spring 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.

Come to a UFT film series exploring African-American history: In celebration of Black History Month in February, come to our annual film series exploring African-American history. Following the film screening, we’ll hold a discussion. These free events take place on Thursdays at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The two films this year are: “Back to Natural,” a study of the shocking truth about hair, politics and racial identity in black communities and beyond, on Thursday, Feb. 13; and “College Behind Bars,” the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees and turn their lives around, on Thursday, Feb. 27. For more detailed descriptions of each film and to register, see the online form. For more information, see the Black Film Series flier.

Political Action

Take Action Join us tomorrow for the Women’s March: It's a new year and a new opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity and take a stand for our rights as educators, New Yorkers and American citizens. Join your fellow UFT members again this Saturday, Jan. 18, at 10 a.m. at the fourth annual Women's March on New York City. Look for the UFT contingent at the corner of West 72nd Street and Central Park West at the start of the Women's March Alliance rally. Speakers will include Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union New York, and Chivona Newsome, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Greater New York. We'll march south on Central Park West to Columbus Circle and then continue down Sixth Avenue to 43rd Street. Register online. See directions here.

Salary and Personnel

Submit 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 they already earned their salary differential before Sept. 1, 2019. There is a six-month application window for teachers hired between Sept. 1, 2017, and Sept. 1, 2019, who have completed their 30 credits beyond a master’s degree by Sept. 1, 2019, who have not yet finalized the application process for their differential. This window closes Friday, Feb. 28. 

Teaching and Learning

New Feedback wanted on new graduation requirements: The New York State Board of Regents and the State Education Department want to know what educators think about graduation requirements to ensure educational excellence and equity for every student. Educators are invited to attend an informational meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 12, from 9 a.m. to noon, or from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Monroe College, 2501 Jerome Ave. in the Bronx, to discuss the new standards for graduation. Meetings will also be held at other locations throughout the state. Participants may provide suggestions on each of five guiding questions. To attend an informational meeting and read the five guiding questions, see the regional meeting schedule on the State Education Department website. If you cannot attend an informational meeting but would like to participate, complete the five-question web survey.

State 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.

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This Week in Education and Labor News

Women’s basketball league wins contract with paid parental leave: The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and its players’ union on Jan. 14 announced a tentative new work contract that includes better maternity and family planning provisions, reports the Washington Post. Under the agreement, players will have access to an annual child care stipend of $5,000, and players on maternity leave will receive a full salary. Players will also see a 53% pay increase, bringing the new top salary to up to $500,000.

Florida teachers march against low pay and lack of support: Florida teachers on Jan. 13 descended on the state capital to protest decades of systematic attacks on public education, according to USA Today. Protesters, organized by the Florida Education Association teachers' union, blame the state Legislature for failing to adequately fund public schools. Low pay, high-stakes testing and a lack of support for instructors have fueled a statewide teacher shortage, demonstrators said. More than 3,500 teaching positions are vacant across Florida, which ranks among the bottom 10 states in teacher pay.

Rochester teachers ask for funds to avert more layoffs: Educators in upstate Rochester on Jan. 14 rallied in Albany to ask the state for help in the face of large-scale layoffs, reports Members of the Rochester Teachers’ Association, along with students, asked the legislature for additional funding to help close a massive, multi-million-dollar budget shortfall in the district. Additionally, teachers want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to fund $3.8 billion in additional foundation aid. The president of the Rochester teachers’ union said if the district doesn’t get additional funding, more layoffs could follow.

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Events Calendar


Saturday, March 7: Come to the UFT’s 16th annual School Counselors Conference 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 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.

This Week

Monday, Jan. 20: Register for a Student Debt Relief Program webinar streaming from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 5 to 6:30 p.m. After you register online, you will receive log-in information for the webinar.

Wednesday, Jan. 22: Bronx-based members in District 11 are invited to register for a Student Debt Relief Program workshop at MS 180, 700 Baychester Ave. in the Bronx. This event runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Register online.

Wednesday, Jan. 22: Newly appointed school counselors are invited to a meet and greet from 4 to 7 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G, with Chapter Leader Rosemarie Thompson, Vice President for Special Education MaryJo Ginese, Assistant Secretary Michael Sill and Pension Consultant Frank Panebianco. Dinner will be served and a raffle will be held. Register online. For more information, see the Newly Appointed School Counselors flier.

Wednesday, Jan. 22: The School Nurses Chapter meets from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 7th floor, Forest Hills. Register online.

Wednesday, Jan. 22: Speech teachers in their first year of teaching are invited to a speech survival class from 4:15 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room H.

Wednesday, Jan. 22: The Occupational and Physical Therapist Chapter meets from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Register online.

Wednesday, Jan. 22: Two chapters, the Administrative EO/EA Chapter and the EO/EA Chapter, meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 24th floor, room 1. Register online.

Wednesday, Jan. 22: Queens-based members may attend a Paid Parental Leave for the Birthing Parent 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 Paid Parental Leave for the Birthing Parent Workshop flier.

Thursday, Jan. 23: Bronx-based members in District 12 are invited to register for a Student Debt Relief Program workshop at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. This event takes place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Register online.

Thursday, Jan. 23: The UFT financial wellness workshop, Money Moves, will be held at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, from 4 to 6 p.m. Register online.

Thursday, Jan. 23: Teachers considering a sabbatical are invited to attend a sabbatical workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. For more information, see the Sabbatical Workshop flier.

Thursday, Jan. 23: Bronx-based speech teachers in their first year of teaching are invited to a speech survival class from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St.

Thursday, Jan. 23: Staten Island-based speech teachers in their first year of teaching are invited to a speech survival class from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road.

Save the Date

Saturday, March 14: The Paraprofessional Luncheon runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton, 1335 Sixth Ave. For more information, including registration, see the item in This Week’s Focus.

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

Photo Gallery: School Secretaries Seminar 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

  • Friday, Feb. 7, 7 p.m., 16th annual dinner dance at Antun’s Queens Village. For more information and to register, see the Stand Up and Be Counted flier.

American Teachers of Social Studies and Jewish Heritage Committee

  • Sunday, March 29, 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., annual Holocaust for Educators program with American Society for Yad Vashem, Ramaz Middle School, 114 E. 85th St. (between Lexington and Park avenues.) Six hours of CTLE credit are offered through Manhattanville College. The theme of this event, sponsored by the Barbara Gutfreund Arfa Endowment Fund for Holocaust Education, is “Never Again Means Now. Confronting Antisemitism in a Post-Holocaust World: The Impact on Education.” Free admission, free educational resources and free kosher breakfast and lunch. Register by Friday, March 20, using the UFT coupon or the online form. For more information or to register by phone, contact Carolyn Herbst, ATSS/UFT Holocaust Education Program, at 646-258-1942. For more information, see the Never Again Means Now flier.

Capably Disabled Committee

English Language Arts Committee

Irish Heritage Committee

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.

Science Committee

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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.

Send us your feedback

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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, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin, Liz Truly, Miriam Vega and Betty Zohar.