Chapter Leader UpdateMay 19, 2021
Chapter Leader UpdateMay 19, 2021
A CHAMPION FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS: City Comptroller Scott Stringer vowed to “dismantle” the DOE bureaucracy and redirect $1 billion to schools during the morning town hall at the May 15 UFT Spring Education Conference. Read the story »
This Week's Focus
MOSL guidance for teacher evaluation is online
The DOE has released guidance for implementing the Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) that are a part of teacher evaluation. In negotiations with the DOE, the UFT fought for a safe and simple MOSL process this year. As a first step, speak with your principal about convening your school’s MOSL committee to choose between two options: 1) a citywide measure that will not require the school to administer any MOSL assessments; or 2) a single schoolwide measure based on MOSL assessments selected by your committee; these assessments would include in-person students only and must be administered and scored by June 25. The union recommends that schools select the citywide measure. Schools have until June 11 to tell the DOE which of the two options they prefer. When there is a disagreement between the UFT chapter leader and the principal, the default will be the citywide measure. See the 020-21 MOSL Assessment Administration Guidance and the updated DOE FAQ on teacher evaluation (MOSL begins on page 27).
Apply now for summer school positions
For many students and their families, a successful in-person summer school experience will smooth the transition to in-person learning in September. The DOE has released its posting for summer school and is now accepting applications. The city is expecting the largest summer school enrollment in its history at its Summer Rising program, so there are many positions to fill. There may be a small cohort of remote students, but if UFT members want to ensure a position for themselves, they should apply for an in-person assignment. Retention rights will be honored for all offered positions. UFT members with retention rights who worked remotely because of a medical accommodation this school year will retain their retention rights for future summers even if they do not apply this year. The deadline to apply is Friday, June 11.
Our Kids Need campaign launches next week
Class size reduction and intervention teams are two key elements of the UFT's five-point plan for using federal COVID relief funds for schools to help our students recover from the pandemic. We are launching the Our Kids Need campaign next week to prod the mayor to earmark money in the city budget for these two initiatives and to start planning now so they are in place for September. We will be asking members to take action to ensure the city uses its education budget to lower class sizes in 100 of the neediest schools and create mental health/academic intervention teams in every school by next September. Stay tuned for details on how to join the campaign.
Another successful Spring Education Conference
We want to express our appreciation to you for helping to turn out a record-breaking 3,000 UFT members for our Spring Education Conference on Saturday, May 15. In the morning town hall, UFT President Michael Mulgrew, Staten Island teacher Milagros Colon and Bronx paraprofessional Zelideth Diaz had an in-person discussion with Scott Stringer, the union's endorsed candidate for mayor. Stringer called for creating more rigorous and engaging after-school offerings, putting two teachers in every classroom, and dismantling the bureaucracy and sending $1 billion directly to schools. In his address, Mulgrew reflected on all the things that members overcame as a union during this tumultuous school year and gave an update on what lies ahead. State Attorney General Letitia James accepted the John Dewey Award for Excellence in Education, and educators earned two CTLE credit hours at their choice of afternoon workshops.
Chapter Leader Checklist
- Touch base with your school's election chair: School chapter elections will take place from May 28 through the end of the school year. Election chairs received a May 18 email from the UFT with detailed instructions about their next tasks. Please check that your election chair received this email. If not, please contact your district representative, who can forward it. We asked election chairs to let their colleagues know who was declared elected and who is competing for election at their schools. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the UFT Election Hotline at 212-331-6310.
- Functional chapter elections are underway: The American Arbitration Association is running elections for the following functional chapters: attendance teachers, LYFE, home instruction, paraprofessionals, sign language interpreters, social workers and psychologists, school counselors, OT/PTs and Hearing Education Services. Ballots are in the mail to UFT members in these functional chapters. If a functional chapter member has not received a ballot by May 24, the member can call the American Arbitration Association at 800-529-5218 or use this UFT online duplicate ballot request form. The sole candidates running for office in the union’s other functional chapters were declared elected.
- Extensions of probation don’t need to be signed immediately: Probationers whose principals want to extend their probations do not have to sign the extension of probation immediately. Members have a right to have one of the union’s lawyers look it over. In fact, every extension of probation should be submitted to the UFT for a NYSUT attorney to review before the member makes the decision to sign or not. You should contact your district rep each time a member receives an extension of probation. If your principal is insisting that the member sign the extension without the proper time for the extension agreement to be reviewed, advise the member not to sign and contact your district rep or borough office immediately.
- Learn about SBOs and end-of-year topics: The final two virtual training sessions for school chapter leaders will focus on how to conduct a successful SBO vote at your school (May 22) and end-of-year topics including final ratings and appeals, excessing, discontinuances, extensions of probation, tenure, retirement, terminations and resignations (June 4). All chapter leaders are invited to attend these Saturday sessions from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Register online »
Work in progress
The UFT is working on the following issues with the DOE and other city, state and federal-level entities as appropriate:
- Early planning for opening of schools in September
- Finalizing the SBO process
- Negotiating with City Hall the details of the early retirement incentive
School Chapters on UFT.org
You Should Know
Health and Safety
DOE issues guidance for end-of-year activities
The end of the school year marks many milestones in the lives of our members, students and their families. Many of the in-person activities and celebrations that did not take place last June can proceed this year with adherence to strict DOE health and safety standards. Your school may plan in-person graduation pictures and explore opportunities for outdoor in-person graduation, in addition to virtual celebrations. All outdoor graduations and moving-up ceremonies are subject to strict adherence to the city Department of Health's COVID-19 policies. Unfortunately, in-person proms, both indoor and outdoor, are not permitted at this time. A virtual option must also be provided when approved in-person celebrations with the appropriate social distancing and face coverings take place.
School safety rules remain in place for summer school
The UFT has insisted that all safety standards implemented in school buildings this past school year remain in place for summer school. Morning COVID-19 screenings will continue. Schools will return to the pre-pandemic protocol, with some modifications, for handling sick students. Three-foot social distancing remains mandatory except during lunch, when students must be six feet apart. Schools must be disinfected daily. MERV-13 filters for air-conditioning units are arriving in schools. Two air purifiers must be available for every classroom. Every school must have a sufficient stock of personal protective equipment.
Weekly testing mandated for student athletes in high-risk sports
Starting this week, all coaches and students participating in high-risk sports sponsored by the Public Schools Athletic League — basketball, football, lacrosse, rugby, stunt, volleyball and wrestling — must be tested weekly for COVID-19. This testing will take place at the end of the school day. Since these PSAL participants will already be tested, they do not have to take part in a school's random weekly COVID-19 testing. Please remember: All staff and students participating in these high-risk sports must have a testing consent form on file.
Medical and Wellness
MAP careline for immediate support
The union has created a new careline, offered through the Member Assistance Program, for UFT members to receive help if they're dealing with mental health challenges or emotional duress caused by the pandemic. Please let your members know they may call 212-331-6322 and speak with a licensed clinician from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. The clinician will assess, engage and refer the member to other union programs or outside services.
Support group for UFT members struggling with addiction
For those of us affected by substance-use disorder — directly or indirectly — this year has been especially challenging. If you or a fellow member is in recovery or seeking recovery, please join the conversation, share your experiences, support other members and find strength with the UFT Member Assistance Program's weekly recovery support group. The group is free, confidential and HIPAA-compliant.
Salary and Personnel
DOE payroll to remain open this summer
In a major change from past years, DOE payroll will not close this May and will instead remain open throughout the summer. UFT members who were on leave can be brought back to work and restored to payroll at any time between now and the end of the school year. DOE protocols for summer staffing are still being worked out. Also, the DOE will mail July and August paper checks for Q-bank employees throughout the summer as payroll will no longer close early and distribute all checks in June. In related news, the DOE will send paper checks to H-bank and Q-bank employees as of the June 11 and June 15 check runs, respectively. The DOE will use the member's address on file. Please have your members receiving paper checks review and correct their addresses in the NYCAPS Employee Self Service System by May 26 to make sure the DOE has the correct address.
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. Space is still available in the final two workshops of the school year on Thursday, June 17, and Thursday, June 24, from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, see the paid parental leave section of the UFT website.
UFT Honors tributes focus on members' school careers
Has a UFT member from your school community recently died? Please consider memorializing their life on the UFT Honors website. The tributes focus on the contributions these members made to their school communities and to our city. We share other aspects of their lives, too, to paint a fuller picture. If you know a UFT member to include on the UFT Honors website, please complete our submission form or contact UFT Honors coordinator Cara Metz at email@example.com. We reserve the right to edit the information submitted by family members or colleagues, as well as the comments posted on the site, to maintain consistency and propriety.
Chapter Leader Communities
Share ideas with fellow chapter leaders in your district and find answers to questions about union rights and benefits.