Chapter Leader UpdateMar. 16, 2021
Chapter Leader UpdateMar. 16, 2021
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Charles Cogen (right), who became the UFT’s first president, leads members of the Teachers Guild at a rally prior to the merger that created the UFT. The union was formed on March 16, 1960 — 61 years ago today!
This Week's Focus
Prepare to hold chapter leader elections
UFT members in your school will be voting this spring to determine who will represent them for chapter leader, delegate and para rep for their chapter for the next three years, starting July 1, 2021. UFT members who are also members of functional chapters will also be voting by mail for their functional chapter leadership this spring. UFT members have a right to run for office, nominate other members and vote for candidates. Instead of in-school elections for school-based positions, UFT members will vote by telephone so all members, whether in-person or remote, can fully participate. Chapter leaders have several key responsibilities concerning elections (see the Chapter Leader Checklist below). If you are working remotely this year, please designate someone at your school to retrieve and open the election packet being mailed to your school. We appreciate your help in ensuring a smooth and fair election process this year. If you have any questions about the procedures or if any questions arise during the election process, please call the UFT Election Hotline at 212-331-6310.
UFT offers 5-point plan for COVID-19 relief funds
Invoking “the horror and damage” experienced by New York City children during the pandemic, UFT President Michael Mulgrew called for more than $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds to be dedicated to the needs of students battered emotionally and academically over the last year. “The pandemic has been tough on all of us, but particularly on our students, many of whom will need intensive academic and psychological services, along with other interventions,” he said in a virtual press conference on March 10. Accompanied by three educators, Mulgrew laid out a five-point recovery proposal, including academic intervention teams in every school, smaller class sizes in 100 of the city’s neediest schools, extended summer learning programs, targeted help for high school students and a UFT training program for teachers. Sandra Fajgier, a pre-K teacher at a Brooklyn pre-K center, Pedro Dones, a math teacher in the Bronx, and DeShanna Barker, a special education teacher in Queens, each emphasized the social emotional trauma and learning loss that must be urgently addressed.
APPR complaint form for this school year on website
A fast and straightforward complaint resolution process has been established to protect UFT members if principals don’t follow correct procedures for this year’s teacher evaluation system. Prior to receiving a final rating for the 2020-21 school year, teachers who believe they have been rated improperly as the result of a procedural violation may use the APPR complaint form to ask their principal for assistance in resolving the issue. The teacher must file this form within five school days of knowledge of the act or occurrence that led to this request. Teachers must be logged in to UFT.org and covered by the Advance evaluation system to access this form.
Next round of Saturday training for chapter leaders
All chapter leaders are invited to attend upcoming virtual training sessions on six important and timely topics so you can be fully informed and empowered as chapter leader during this difficult school year. The workshops take place via Zoom on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. They have been updated to reflect the challenges we face this school year. These virtual workshops are open to all chapter leaders. You are invited to attend as many sessions as you wish. The next three sessions are: Navigating School Budgets on Saturday, March 20; Special Education on Saturday, April 10; and School-based Options on Saturday, April 17.
Chapter Leader Checklist
- Submit the name of election committee chair by March 23: As chapter leader, you should assemble an election committee to oversee your chapter’s elections. Candidates for chapter leader, delegate and para rep may not serve on the election committee. Please use the digital form in your March 10 email about the UFT elections to submit the name and contact information of your chapter’s election chair.
- Distribute election materials in your school: You will be receiving an election packet by mail to your school in late March. Safeguard these election materials and turn them over to the election committee once it is in place. The election poster in the packet should be posted on your school's UFT bulletin board.
- Alert your members to missing information: In the election packet, we are sending you a membership list that will show who in your school chapter is eligible to vote or run for office. This membership list will indicate for each member when a mailing address is marked undeliverable, a cell phone number is missing or an email address is missing (marked X) or unsubscribed (marked U). Please alert these members about the gaps and encourage them to update their contact information with the union as soon as possible.
- Save the date for the March 24 Delegate Assembly: As your school’s elected union representative, your participation at Delegate Assembly meetings is a crucial part of the UFT policymaking process. And now that these meetings are virtual, attending is more convenient than ever.
Work in progress
- Pressing the DOE to release the 2021-22 school year calendar
- Lobbying the state to pass an early retirement incentive for New York City educators
- A meaningful summer program for our students
School Chapters on UFT.org
You Should Know
Health and Safety
Report any safety issues at high schools
High school classrooms reopen on March 22. Every school must continue to follow the comprehensive building safety plan the union established in the fall. Your school’s COVID-19 building response team is responsible for ensuring that your building is adhering to these rigorous safety and health standards. Please report any safety issues, including insufficient personal protective equipment or unsanitary conditions, to the UFT immediately at our dedicated safety hotline at 212-331-6317. We will relay your information to the city and the DOE so they can get to work immediately on fixing the issues we identify. Also, please keep your district rep informed about any issues you encounter.
Free CTLE workshops offered by Apple and the UFT
Apple, in collaboration with the UFT, is offering free workshops for CTLE credit every weekday throughout the school year. These 60-minute workshops are designed especially for New York City educators, including beginners. With more than a dozen workshops to choose from, educators can explore the ways Apple technology can support learning — and they don't need their own iPad to attend. Participants can get individual support from Apple professional learning experts via the chat. In “Create Content for the iPad,” for example, teachers and paras will learn how to digitize handouts, make interactive worksheets and create video newsletters. These hands-on sessions are offered multiple times daily in the afternoon and evening from Monday through Friday. Tell your members they must use a personal, non-DOE email to register.
Medical and Wellness
UFT launches "Let’s Talk About It" wellness series for members
You’re supporting so many people; who’s supporting you? UFT members rose to the challenge this year, supporting students and parents and one another — all while trying to balance everything else in their lives. But our well-being matters, too. The Member Assistance Program (MAP) invites you to Share-Heal-Grow-Together through its series, Let’s Talk About It. Covering topics such as transition and change, reigniting your inspiration and loving relationships, Let's Talk About It will touch upon the many ways you can heal from this challenging year and give you time to reflect with your fellow educators to move you forward. You will leave each session with actionable steps to take. UFT members will learn more about this program in the coming weeks when registration opens.
Register for the UFT’s city comptroller town hall on March 23
UFT members are invited to join UFT President Michael Mulgrew for the union’s virtual town hall featuring 2021 candidates for New York City Comptroller on Tuesday, March 23, at 5:30 p.m. The next comptroller will serve a key fiscal oversight role, ensuring the DOE appropriately allocates the $5 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds that it is receiving. As the city’s chief financial officer, the comptroller is responsible for safeguarding the multi-billion-dollar city budget and the five public pension funds, ensuring integrity in contracts and auditing every city agency for performance and efficiency. The UFT wants members to hear from the candidates so they can cast an informed vote in the June 22 primary. Visit the UFT NYC 2021 website.
Salary and Personnel
Teachers may apply to become a teacher leader
The Department of Education is accepting applications for teacher leader positions, which provide opportunities for teachers to grow their own professional practices, assume leadership roles and collaborate with colleagues to share their instructional practice, all while remaining in the classroom. Teachers may apply for a teacher leader position through Monday, April 5. Teacher leaders receive an additional stipend ($7,500 for model teachers and $12,500 for peer collaborative teachers) and year-long professional learning, including opportunities to collaborate and network with other teacher leaders in their community. For eligibility requirements and to apply, see the online form.
Spring workshops on paid parental leave
UFT members preparing to welcome a new child into their lives are invited to attend a virtual Pathways to Parenthood workshop to learn about their parental leave benefits. These UFT workshops are for any DOE-employed member who is about to give birth or adopt. The next three available workshops are on Tuesdays, April 6, April 17 and April 20, from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information about these benefits, see the paid parental leave section of the UFT website. If you have any questions, call the UFT at 212-331-6311.
Know the rights of substitute paras in a specific assignment
Please make sure your principal and the payroll secretary know, as per Article 10 of the DOE-UFT paraprofessional contract, a day-to-day substitute paraprofessional who covers the absence of the same paraprofessional for 30 consecutive workdays or more is covered by all the provisions of the DOE-UFT paraprofessional contract, including pay, benefits and sick days for the duration of that assignment.
Celebrate women who broke the glass ceiling at HERstory
All UFT members are invited to the union's virtual HERstory celebration In honor of Women's History Month on Friday, March 26, at 4 p.m. We will (belatedly) honor the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, and pay tribute to "ceiling smashers" including the late Elizabeth Langiulli, a pivotal figure in UFT leadership for four decades. Join us in lifting up these women whose leadership and achievements make us proud.
April 30 deadline for scholarship for LGBTQ student activists
The application deadline for students to apply for the UFT Pride Committee’s Daniel Dromm Scholarship has been extended to April 30. High school educators and school counselors should encourage high school seniors who are LGBTQ activists to apply for this award. The award is named for City Council Member Daniel Dromm, who is the chair of the Council’s LGBTQ caucus. Winners receive a $1,000 scholarship. Applicants must be attending college in the fall and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. For full application requirements, see the online application.
Chapter Leader Communities
Share ideas with fellow chapter leaders in your district and find answers to questions about union rights and benefits.