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Chapter Leader UpdateMarch 31, 2022

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Snapshot

CENTERS OF ATTENTION: The UFT is lobbying hard for more funding for the UFT Teacher Center in the new state budget. The Teacher Center at PS/IS 295 in Jamaica, Queens, is one of the 20 new sites that opened in school buildings across the city this school year to provide extra support for educators at this challenging time. 

CENTERS OF ATTENTION: The UFT is lobbying hard for more funding for the UFT Teacher Center in the new state budget. The Teacher Center at PS/IS 295 in Jamaica, Queens, is one of the 20 new sites that opened in school buildings across the city this school year to provide extra support for educators at this challenging time. 

This Week's Focus

Voting in UFT election begins in April

Ballots for the 2022 UFT elections will be mailed on Friday, April 8, to members’ homes. UFT members may vote for president and other officers, Executive Board positions and convention delegates for the union’s state and national affiliates. Please remind your members to vote. An election notice with voting information will be mailed to schools next week. Please post the notice on your UFT bulletin board on Friday, April 8, or soon thereafter. The independent American Arbitration Association will oversee the election and count the ballots on May 10. Candidates will be elected to three-year terms beginning July 1.


Chapter Leader Hub launches on April 4

Those of you who attended the March 23 Delegate Assembly know that the UFT has created an online hub to support your crucial work as a chapter leader. This hub, which goes live on Monday, April 4, contains membership, COPE and grievance reports for your school chapter, plus union forms for chapter leaders, the Chapter Leader Handbook, an in-depth knowledge base and other valuable resources. We asked chapter leaders what would make their jobs easier and then we used their feedback to build the hub. You can access the hub using your UFT website username and password. For the link to enter, look out for the April 4 email from UFT President Michael Mulgrew announcing the launch. We encourage you to explore the hub and all the information and guidance it contains.


UFT’s Listen Up! The reality is… panel set for April 14

Members are invited to watch the union’s Listen Up! The reality is… panel on Facebook Live on Thursday, April 14, starting at 4 p.m. A panel of eight public school educators will speak to Schools Chancellor David C. Banks and other key education policy makers about their experiences and share their thoughts and ideas about what educators and students need at this moment. City Council Education Committee Chair Rita Joseph, a former UFT member and Brooklyn teacher, will be the panel moderator. 

Chapter Leader Checklist

  • Advise members to review records: Tell members they should carefully review and save emails from the DOE’s Department of Human Resources, which records all information concerning city licenses/appointments and state certification. If the information received is inaccurate, they should immediately follow the DOE’s instructions to correct errors in the record.
  • Don’t use student names in UFT emails: Please remember that personally identifying information regarding students is considered a student record and should not be shared with the UFT. If you need to submit a report to the union for an investigation or a complaint that involves discussing student behavior or performance, please do so without naming the student. If you receive a communication that includes a student name, please do not forward it. Copy and paste the pertinent information and remove the student's name before sharing with others.
  • Fliers to share with your members: Here are fliers you can print and distribute in member mailboxes or post on your school's UFT bulletin board.

Work in progress

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

  • Finalizing the school calendar for the 2022-23 school year
  • Finalizing summer school postings
  • Filing a union-initiated grievance on behalf of school psychologists who have been assigned clerical work
  • Fighting for state funding for UFT initiatives and other education priorities
  • Fighting for Tier 6 reform in Albany
  • Resolving spring break 2020 dispute over vacation days for members with low CAR balances
  • Resolving late payments for after-hours SERS and SEED work by occupational and physical therapists

School Chapters on UFT.org

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You Should Know

CONTRACT EMPOWERMENT & ENFORCEMENT

UFT members at Staten Island hospital ratify contract

Federation of Nurses/UFT members employed by Staten Island University Hospital South on March 27, by an overwhelming majority, ratified a new three-year contract that provides three 3% raises and allows registered nurses hired between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2022, to join the Federation of Nurses/UFT health care fund for health benefits after initially being enrolled in management’s Northwell benefit fund. UFT Vice President Anne Goldman, the head of the Federation of Nurses, described that shift as the biggest achievement under the new pact. “It was extraordinary that we were able to put new members who were going into the Northwell plan back into the UFT plan,” she said. “Our plan is absolutely more comprehensive and welcoming.”


HEALTH & SAFETY

Mask update for 3K and pre-K students

Masks will become optional for students ages 2 to 4 in schools and daycares starting April 4 if the city's COVID-19 infection rate remains low. If risk levels increase, either before or after the mask mandate is lifted for this age group, the decision will be revisited. This change in policy applies to staff who work with this age group as well. All other COVID protocols ⁠— in-school testing, KN95 masks for staff and other personal protective equipment ⁠— will remain in place.

April 1 update:

Mayor Adams and his health advisers announced on April 1 that children younger than 5 should continue to wear face masks in school for the foreseeable future. He said it would be irresponsible to follow through on his administration’s plans to make masks optional for that age group in light of the rise in COVID-19 infections driven by the highly contagious omicron subvariant known as BA.2. A Staten Island Supreme Court justice ruled just hours before his Friday announcement that the toddler mask mandate can’t be enforced because it’s “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.” Adams said his administration will appeal that ruling.


INSTRUCTION

Literacy intervention training for special ed staff

Please encourage your school administration to send special education staff for spring training in literacy interventions if they have not already done so. Students with disabilities at all grade levels struggle with reading, and for many, the pandemic compounded those struggles. Special education recovery funds have been allocated to every school to purchase intervention materials and provide coverage for teachers and paraprofessionals to attend a one-day training on literacy interventions. At a minimum, schools should send one special education teacher for training in SPIRE or Sounds Sensible (elementary schools) or Rewards (middle and high schools) and one paraprofessional for asynchronous training in Great Leaps.


SALARY & PERSONNEL

Register for spring pension workshops

The UFT Pension Department regularly offers virtual workshops to inform members about their valuable pension benefits. The next workshop, on Health Benefits at Retirement, is on Tuesday, April 5. Members who are turning 65 in the next few years are invited to register for the Turning 65 and Medicare workshop on Tuesday, April 12. Members enrolled in the Teachers’ Retirement System are invited to sign up for The Retirement Process workshop on Tuesday, April 26. All workshops are virtual and begin at 4:15 p.m.

Obtain students with disabilities certification or a bilingual extension

Teachers interested in earning an additional Students with Disabilities certification or Bilingual Extension for the 2022-23 school year have until Friday, April 22, to register for the city’s extended certification programs. The city Department of Education is offering extended certification programs, enabling qualified current teachers to pursue a Students with Disabilities (grades B-2, 1-6, or 7-12) certification or a Bilingual Extension (grades PK-12) through the completion of fully subsidized graduate-level coursework. By earning one of these additional licenses, teachers can increase their professional flexibility, while also gaining the skills and training to more effectively serve some of their highest-need students.

Register online

Certification requirements for school counselors will change

The state Board of Regents has established new certification requirements for school counselors that go into effect on Feb. 2, 2023. Currently, school counselors receive provisional and permanent certification from the State Education Department. As of Feb. 2, 2023, school counselors will be issued initial and professional certification. In the meantime, the State Education Department will continue to issue provisional and permanent certifications, and school counselors are responsible for keeping their certifications current.


EVERYTHING ELSE

Join us for the 2022 Academic High Schools celebration

The UFT’s Academic High Schools Division will honor outstanding members for their commitment to students, their profession and our union on Friday, April 8. The celebration will take place in person at Shanker Hall at UFT headquarters. Doors open at 4 p.m., and the awards ceremony begins at 5:15 p.m. There will be a dessert reception after the ceremony. Please wear festive attire. All UFT members in the Academic High Schools Division are invited to register, but space is limited.

Be BRAVE Against Bullying video contest

Please tell your members about the UFT's Be BRAVE Against Bullying video contest for middle school students. The contest is a wonderful way to showcase students' talent and hard work while sparking discussions about positive social behavior and mental health. Invite middle school students to create a video from three to five minutes on an anti-bullying topic for the chance to win a cash prize and accept an award at a ceremony at UFT headquarters in May. Contest entries are due by Friday, April 29. Download this flier to post on your UFT bulletin board.

Still time to register for the UFT Middle School Conference

Do your members work in a middle or K–8 school? Please encourage them to attend “Live from the UFT – the seventh annual Middle School Conference” on Saturday, April 9, at UFT headquarters, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Participants can earn up to three CTLE hours by attending two workshops of their choice. Topics include creating Google Earth social studies projects, building a strong partnership in ICT classrooms and creating culturally responsive STEM classrooms. The conference includes breakfast, lunch and giveaways. The registration fee is $25 for teachers who wish to receive CTLE hours; $15 for teachers without CTLE; $15 for paraprofessionals who wish to receive CTLE hours; and $10 for paraprofessionals without CTLE.

Register now

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