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Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for May 27, 2020

We will be sending this new streamlined version of the Chapter Leader Update every two weeks for the remainder of the school year.

This Week's Focus

Sign the petition to urge the U.S. Senate to pass the HEROES Act

We need the U.S. Senate to pass the HEROES Act, which contains $1 trillion for state and local services including health care and public education. This vital support will help protect classrooms from debilitating budget cuts and layoffs. Please sign this petition to tell the U.S. Senate to support the HEROES Act. The bill provides $100 billion nationwide for public schools so they can prepare to reopen safely, test for the virus, follow the guidance of medical experts and provide the academic, social and emotional support children will need to recover from this pandemic. New York’s two U.S. senators support the legislation, but we need a majority of senators nationwide to get behind this essential legislation. Not yet part of the Our Schools Need a Lifeline campaign? Text LIFELINE to 30644 to join.

Application process for summer school program

The DOE released its posting for summer school on May 21 and is accepting applications through June 12. Nearly 178,000 New York City public school students will attend summer school for six weeks this year, albeit remotely. Before beginning the application, everyone must register as a new user, even if they have previously registered as an applicant for the Summer School Instructional Program, including prior to May 21. Retention rights will be honored for all positions that are offered. Members will receive training on July 1 and 2, and four-hour instructional days will take place on Monday through Thursday from Monday, July 6 through Tuesday, August 14. High school educators will do portfolio reviews on Aug. 15 and 16. Summer school will feature a mix of synchronous (live) and asynchronous remote instruction. If you believe you have been improperly denied retention rights, use the Contact Us form on the left column of the Summer School Instructional Program website or call the UFT at 212-331-6311. Please note that if you edit your application after you have submitted it, the date of the application is reset. So, if you edit your application after the June 12 deadline, the application will be marked late.

Listen to Mulgrew talk with two educators and a parent about the challenges ahead

On the new episode of On the Record with Michael Mulgrew called “Facing the Challenge of the Coronavirus,” New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa, a UFT Teacher Center instructional coach and a New York City public school parent join UFT President Michael Mulgrew to discuss the first two months of remote learning and how educators and parents need to drive decisions about the shape that schooling will take in the fall. “The one thing I’ve learned from this crisis and this pandemic is that we need to own our solutions,” says Rosa in the conversation. “I don’t have a problem engaging with those that want to be helpful, but I have a problem having those people lead our conversation that have, at best, uneven success in our field.”


Work in progress

The UFT is working on the following issues with the DOE and other city, state and federal-level entities as appropriate:

  • Relevant professional development for educators on Thursday, June 4
  • The 2020-21 school calendar
  • A process for filing reorganization grievances
  • A plan for reopening schools in the fall that keeps staff and students safe
  • An enhanced death benefit for the beneficiaries of UFT members who died of coronavirus-related complications
  • Clear excessing protocols and procedures
  • Guidance for high school members for Regents Week

You Should Know

  • State issues Covid-19 guidance for English language learners: The New York State Education Department, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, has released guidance addressing the special learning needs of English language learners. The New York State United Teachers fact sheet, Provision of Services to English Language Learners During Statewide School Closures Due to COVID-19, notes that school districts are responsible for providing continuity of learning for ELLs while offering details on the new flexible timeline and more. The U.S. Department of Education also issued updated federal guidance regarding ELL instruction on May 18. The UFT will work with NYSUT to determine the overlap between the state and federal guidelines. See the full memo and the Q&A on the State Education Department website.
  • Dial-A-Teacher is back with free homework help: Dial-A-Teacher, the UFT's free homework help hotline, is once again open Monday through Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. For the moment, the hotline can only offer help in English for English language arts and math homework to students in kindergarten through 5th grade. We soon hope to include more subjects, grades and languages. To get live help from a classroom teacher, parents and students must fill out the Dial-A-Teacher intake form on the program’s website during the hours the hotline is open. Then, a UFT-represented educator will provide assistance.
  • UFT launches a member-only legal plan: The union has launched a new benefit exclusively for union members: a Legal Services Plan that provides access to attorneys for free or at discounted rates depending on the service. Lawyers from the New York law firm of Feldman, Kramer and Monaco can help answer legal questions, write letters on a member’s behalf, or prepare a will and other estate documents for free. The union negotiated discounted rates for additional services such as the purchase or sale of a primary residence, refinancing a residence, a divorce and other more complex legal matters. UFT members are automatically enrolled in the plan, which also covers spouses or domestic partners who are living with plan participants; unmarried, dependent children under the age of 19, or children under the age of 25 if the child is wholly dependent upon the plan participant for support and maintenance and is enrolled as a full-time student. To access this legal plan, UFT members should call the UFT-dedicated line at 212-331-6325.
  • UFT 2.5% pay raise in paychecks this week: The salaries of UFT-represented city Department of Education employees increased by 2.5% effective May 14, 2020. The increase will first be reflected in the May 29 paycheck for pedagogues, H-bank employees and all paraprofessionals. Pedagogues who work per diem or per session will see the 2.5 percent pay rate in the June 3 paycheck, while hourly H-bank employees will have the increases reflected in their June 17 checks. The first paychecks that include the raise will also include arrears reflecting the increases back to May 14. The final pay increase negotiated as part of the 2018 DOE-UFT contract, a 3% raise, will take effect on May 14, 2021. If you have any questions, please call the UFT at 212-331-6311.
  • UFT certificates for graduates: The UFT’s officers and the chairpersons of the professional committees have a long tradition of supporting and rewarding our schools’ graduates by awarding certificates for excellence in academic achievement. Certificates may be presented to the most deserving students in each subject area. Download the certificates of excellence in academic achievement and extraordinary effort from the chapter leader section of the UFT website (you must be logged in to gain access). For more information, read the letter from UFT President Michael Mulgrew and George Altomare, the director of the UFT Professional Committees.
  • PIP customizes support for tenured teachers during Covid-19 outbreak: The Peer Intervention Program (PIP) continues to provide intensive one-on-one support to all tenured teachers, pre-K through high school, during these unprecedented times. PIP has assisted teachers with making the transition from the physical school day to an appropriate, standards-based, manageable virtual school day. PIP provides support in creating effective online lesson plans, assists teachers in selecting the most effective apps and learning platforms for online learning, develops video-based mini-lessons and helps teachers create remote learning assignments and projects. PIP also supports participants in documenting their work through accountability protocols and teaching organizational skills, such as record keeping. In addition, PIP teaches participants how to include parents, families and caregivers in the learning process. Members interested in PIP should visit the PIP page on the UFT website and complete the request for assistance form.
  • UFT Honors tributes focus on members’ school careers: On the UFT Honors website, we focus on the contributions that our members who have recently passed away made to their school communities and to our city. We share other aspects of their lives, as well, to paint a fuller picture. If you know a UFT member to include on the UFT Honors website, please complete the memorial submission form or contact UFT Honors coordinator Cara Metz at cmetz@uft.org. We reserve the right to edit the information submitted by family members or colleagues, as well as the comments posted, to maintain consistency and propriety.
  • Voter registration deadline this Friday: Want to vote in the June 23 primary? Applications to register to vote must be postmarked no later than May 29 and received by your board of elections no later than June 3 to be eligible to vote in the primary. The board of election must receive your notice of address change by June 3. Use this interactive state map to find the contact information for your local board of elections.

Helpful Links

Testimony regarding the New York City FY 2021 budget

Testimony regarding New York City essential workers bill of rights

CEP planning timeline and guidance for 2020-21 school year

Information about this year's Chapter 683 summer program

Career training opportunity for paraprofessionals through the LEAP to Teacher program

DOE guidance for school counselors, social workers and psychologists on encounter attendance

DOE guidance for school counselors, social workers, psychologists and Vision and Hearing Education Service providers on documentation of IEP-mandated services