Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Jan. 24, 2020
Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for Jan. 24, 2020
Chapter leader communities will launch week of Feb. 3
Chapter leaders across the city will soon have access to a new online community that gives them a place to share ideas with other chapter leaders in their district, find answers to their questions and collect data the union can use to improve education and working conditions. The UFT created a focus group of chapter leaders who met regularly with technology experts to help design the community, which will launch the week of Feb. 3. “This is a great tool that will help our chapter leaders connect in a very simple but meaningful way,” UFT President Michael Mulgrew said. “It will help supply information to the union that can be used to make sure every school is doing what it is supposed to be doing, whether that is following the contract or providing teachers with the curriculum and instructional tools they need.” Chapter leaders will now have a discussion forum in the community to consult with and share best practices with fellow chapter leaders in their district. Chapter leaders will also be able to use the community to consult a knowledge base that has detailed answers to many member questions.
Lobby Day is an authorized activity for members who attend
Every year on Lobby Day, hundreds of UFT members travel by bus to Albany to encourage state lawmakers to increase funding for public schools and support the rest of the union’s legislative agenda. This year’s UFT Lobby Day in Albany will be on Monday, March 16. If you or other members from your school would like to participate in this year’s event, please reach out to your UFT district rep. Members selected to attend Lobby Day must obtain permission from their principal. Participation in this event is authorized as a conference day for selected teachers and a nonattendance day for selected paraprofessionals. You can advise your principal that the Principals’ Weekly states, “As in past years, the United Federation of Teachers is sponsoring a State Aid Conference in Albany.”
Paid leave for cancer screenings has been expanded
UFT members now can receive up to four hours of paid leave during normal work hours for any type of cancer screening and up to three hours of unpaid leave to give blood. This is an expansion of a previous law that allowed excused leave only for mammograms, prostate cancer screening and blood donation. The state Legislature expanded paid leave for cancer screenings of any kind in 2018 at the urging of the UFT and our state affiliate NYSUT. A personnel memo issued by the DOE outlines the procedures for UFT members to follow when requesting these leaves.
Join a UFT heritage committee
The UFT Professional Committees seek to actively engage members in professional growth through activities such as conferences, seminars, workshops, educational trips, newsletters and professional recognition. There are heritage committees for ethnicities and cultural interest groups including the African Heritage Committee, the Jewish Heritage, the Irish American Committee and the Hispanic Affairs Committee. You can join a heritage committee of your choice, either one that reflects your own background or a group that you would like to learn more about. You can learn more about the various heritage committees on the UFT website. For upcoming committee meetings, see the Professional Committee section below.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. If you have not yet held your January consultation with your principal, consider adding this item to your agenda.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
more information on the scholarship and application materials on the UFT website.Encourage high school seniors to apply for a UFT scholarship: We know high school seniors are busy with Regents exams and midyear portfolio presentations, but please encourage them to apply for the UFT’s $5,000 Albert Shanker College Scholarship. The submission deadline has been extended to Friday, Feb. 14. Each year, the UFT awards $1 million in scholarships to academically excellent and financially eligible city public high school seniors. Please reach out to your school’s college advisers and school counselors to ensure eligible seniors apply for these scholarships. If you do not work in a high school, please spread the word 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
English Language Learners
Use our ELL advocacy tool: UFT members can use the union’s English language learners complaint form to advocate for English language learners. 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.
Student Perception Surveys not part of teachers’ evaluation: For the small number of schools that have opted in to using Student Perception Surveys, the administration deadline for the online version of the 2019–20 survey has been extended to next Friday, Jan. 31. Middle and high school chapter leaders should tell teachers that results from the Student Perception Survey are not part of their evaluation. This survey is designed to capture student feedback on teacher practice and the classroom environment for formative purposes only (i.e., to guide practice) and will not be used under the Advance system to evaluate teachers. This information appeared in the Jan. 22 issue of the Principals’ Weekly.
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 provide an opportunity for teachers and evaluators to reflect on a teacher’s growth and the 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. See your administrator if you would like to hold a midyear professional conversation. The deadline for midyear professional conversations is Thursday, April 30.
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.
Health and Safety
Divine Nine mixer: The UFT Divine Nine Committee invites UFT members who belong to one of 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.
Salary and Personnel
DOE’s payroll portal beginning in mid-February. If an address is wrong, the member must contact HR Connect at 718-935-4000 before requesting the duplicate and/or corrected W-2. If members have any questions regarding their W-2s, they should call HR Connect. Members will get their 1095-c (proof of health insurance through their employer) with their W-2s. Active members can go into NYCAPS Employee Self Service to view and print their W-2s. For more information, see the DOE memo.Is your W-2 accurate?: W-2s will be delivered to schools and offices on Friday, Jan. 31, for all members who did not register to receive them electronically. Members who retired, resigned, were terminated or are on leave will have W-2s mailed to the home address currently on file with the DOE. W-2s for pedagogic per diems also will be mailed. W-2s for substitute paraprofessionals and those who work at multiple DOE locations will go to the school at which they received their last December 2019 paycheck or paystub. ATRs who pick up checks at 65 Court St. will receive W-2s there as well. Members can request copies of their W-2s for the last three years or request a correction by logging on to the
Teaching and Learning
to register, see the Elementary School Workshops page in the LearnUFT section of the UFT website.Register for the spring UFT elementary workshops: Elementary school teachers who wish to upgrade their teaching skills are invited to attend workshops in the UFT’s fall elementary workshop series. Courses include “Raising the Bar for All Learners: High Expectations in the Math Classroom” and “Student Engagement: Strategies and Techniques for Classroom Management.” The fee for each workshop is $30 for teachers who wish to receive CTLE credit and $15 without CTLE credit. The fee for paraprofessionals is $15 with or without CTLE credit. All workshops will be held on Thursdays at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, from 4 to 6 p.m. The workshops have limited enrollment so register ASAP. For workshop descriptions and
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., 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 a meeting but would like to participate, complete the five-question web survey.
Supreme Court case could drain public school funding: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Jan. 22 in a consequential case concerning how and whether taxpayer money can flow to religious schools, reports The American Prospect. Supporters of the plaintiffs hope a favorable outcome could pave the way for more government subsidies to private schools while opponents say the future of public education hangs in the balance. The U.S. Supreme Court has long held it’s legal for states to include religious schools in their private school voucher programs. But now the justices have to decide if it should be effectively mandatory to include religious schools in state voucher programs, and whether it would be unconstitutional to eliminate subsidies to religious schools.
FedEx executives launch anti-union campaign: FedEx workers hoping to unionize for better pay and benefits have met with well-orchestrated opposition from the company, reports the Guardian. Workers, who charge that their benefits are less than at rival UPS, said the company has forced them to attend — and sign in at — meetings at which union avoidance consultants lecture them against joining a union. The Teamsters are attempting to unionize FedEx drivers at several locations around the United States. FedEx spent almost $1 million on anti-union consultants between 2014 and 2018.
New Jersey bill to help depressed teens will not move forward: Gov. Phil Murphy on Jan. 22 declined to sign off on a bill that would have allowed screening for teen depression, according to NJ.com. The measure would have applied to public school students in 7th through 12th grades and required parents to consent to computerized surveys. Federal data shows the number of suicides among 10- to 24-year-olds increased 56% between 2007 and 2017. New Jersey documented 100 suicides in the 15-to 24-year-old age group in 2017 — the highest total since the 1990s — and many of the state's schools do not have the recommended number of counselors on staff.
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.
Saturday, March 14: The 39th annual Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the New York Hilton, 1335 Sixth Ave. For a full list of workshops and the agenda, see the Paraprofessional Festival Awards and Luncheon flier. To register, use the online form. The registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 28
Saturday, Jan. 25: CANCELED — The UFT Math Teachers Committee presents Quilts of the Underground Railroad — Tessellations in Stained Glass and Quilts, an interdisciplinary workshop for K-12 teachers of math.
Monday, Jan. 27: Social workers are invited to a Member Assistance Program workshop about how trauma affects the body, brain and behavior. Participants will also discuss triggers and coping skills. This training will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Two CE hours will be offered. The cost to register is $50. Register online.
Tuesday, Jan. 28: Queens parents, grandparents, guardians and education activists are invited to a workshop about creating a vision board for the new year. Child care, dinner, coffee and tea will be provided. This event will take place from 6 to 8 pm. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 113-35 Queens Blvd., 7th floor, Forest Hills. Register online. For details, see the Vision Board Workshop flier.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: The paraprofessional workshop, Speaking Their Language: Supporting ELL Students, presented by the UFT Paraprofessionals Chapter, the UFT Teacher Center and the DOE, takes place from 4 to 6 p.m., at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 8th floor. 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.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: Queens-based members in District 30 are invited to register for a Student Debt Relief Program workshop at PS 11Q, 54-25 Skillman Ave., Woodside. This event takes place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Register online.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: Manhattan-based members in District 2 who are eligible for tenure in the next year or two are invited to a workshop to discuss the tenure process. This event will take place at PS 379, 8 Spruce St., from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Donalda Chumney and Jessica Harvey will present this workshop, which will provide ample time to answer individual questions. Register online.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: Staten Island-based library media specialists are invited to a discussion of professional learning opportunities and initiatives to expand library services. This event will take place from 4 to 6 pm. at the UFT’s Staten Island borough office, 4456 Amboy Road. We'll provide updates on current topics of interest to school library media specialists and answer questions. We'll also discuss ideas about how to enhance library media specialists’ professional lives, support your colleagues and help our students. Register online.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: Manhattan-based speech teachers in their first year of teaching are invited to a speech survival class from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room H.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: The Occupational and Physical Therapist Chapter will hold a membership meeting from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 7th floor, Forest Hills. Anesa Soleyn, assistant director of the Welfare Fund, will discuss benefits. Register online.
Wednesday, Jan. 29: The monthly joint meeting of the Administrative Education Officers/Analysts Chapter and the Education Officers/Analysts Chapter will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the UFT’s Brooklyn borough office, 335 Adams St., 24th floor, room 1.
Thursday, Jan. 30: Manhattan-based members in District 2 are invited to register for a Student Debt Relief Program workshop at PS 1, 8 Henry St., Manhattan, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Register online.
Thursday, Jan. 30: Bronx-based members in District 8 are invited to a two-hour workshop on pensions to learn about decisions you need to make about this most important financial asset. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of our pension experts. This event begins at 4 p.m. at the UFT’s Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St. Register online.
Thursday, Jan. 30: Queens-based members who are considering taking a sabbatical during the 2020–21 school year are invited to a sabbatical workshop from 4 to 6 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, 118-35 Queens Blvd., 8th floor, Forest Hills. Register online. See the Queens Sabbatical Workshop flier.
Thursday, Jan. 30: 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.
Thursday, Jan. 30: 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.
Friday, Jan. 31: The UFT’s Manhattan borough office invites all Manhattan school-related professionals to attend the annual School-Related Professionals Celebration. There will be music, hors d'oeuvres and refreshments. This event takes place at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 2nd floor, Shanker Hall, from 4 to 8 p.m. Register online. See the Manhattan School-Related Professionals Celebration 2020 flier.
Save the Date
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 uft.org/calendar.
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 Anti-Semitism 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
- Thursday, March 26, 4:15 to 6 p.m., general membership meeting and annual anniversary celebration. For information, see the Capably Disabled General Membership Meeting and Anniversary Celebration flier.
English Language Arts Committee
- Thursday, Feb. 13, 4:15 to 6:15 p.m., “Match Your Students with Great Texts, Create Lifelong Readers, and Have them Ace that Test Too!” For more information, see the Match Your Students with Great Texts, Create Lifelong Readers, and Have them Ace that Test Too! Flier.
Irish Heritage Committee
- Thursday, Feb. 6, 6 p.m., Neil Shanahan Educators Seminar, Topic: Brexit — A Challenge to Peace in Ireland. For more information, see the Brexit—A Challenge to Peace in Ireland flier.
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.
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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Editor: Peter O’Donnell
Executive Editor: Bernadette Weeks
Contributors include: Karen Alford, George Altomare, Nancy Aromando, Ina Babb-Henry, 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, Cassie Prugh, Tina Puccio, Nadine Reis, Hector Ruiz, Robin Sentell, Michael Sill, Anne Silverstein, Geof Sorkin, Rosemarie Thompson, Liz Truly, Joseph Usatch and Betty Zohar.