Chapter Leader UpdateMay 27, 2022
Chapter Leader UpdateMay 27, 2022
THE TIME IS NOW: UFT members display posters calling for smaller class sizes during the luncheon at the Spring Education Conference at the New York Hilton on May 21. (Erica Berger)
This Week's Focus
We must address our country’s gun violence crisis
We are heartbroken and outraged at the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Every child and educator deserves to feel safe in school. Please ask members to wear orange next Friday, June 3, in solidarity with National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend. Please send your photos to UFTphotos@gmail.com. Ask members to save the date for the rally in Washington Square Park on Saturday, June 11, a national day of action to protest gun violence. Delegates at this Wednesday’s Delegate Assembly passed a resolution to stand against gun violence that supports Gov. Kathy Hochul’s gun control measures in New York, reaffirms the UFT’s support for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as other gun safety laws. The UFT will work with the AFT at the national level both to overcome the obstacles to these common-sense safety measures and to organize other means of harnessing the power of our local and national organizations to confront and end this ongoing national tragedy. The same resolution encouraged members to wear black this Friday, May 27, in memory of the victims of gun violence.
Register your school for MindUP PD on Chancellor’s Day
This year on Chancellor’s Day, which is Friday, June 9, chapter leaders can sign up their schools to attend a free two-hour virtual CTLE session with MindUP, an evidence-based program that teaches the skills and knowledge that children need to regulate their stress and emotion, form positive relationships and act with kindness and compassion. The program has been shown to decrease aggressive behavior and improve academic achievement, especially in math and English language arts. The morning session runs from 9 to 11 a.m., and the afternoon session is from noon to 2 p.m. Please fill out this online registration form by Tuesday, June 7, if your school is interested.
Our Spring Education Conference was a success
For the first time in three years, the UFT held its Spring Education Conference in person at the New York Hilton and more than 1,200 educators were on hand to celebrate. The participants enjoyed a great day featuring the morning Speak Up! panel of six educators, well-attended CTLE workshops, an exhibit fair showcasing the expertise of CTE students and a luncheon with special guests Gov. Kathy Hochul, Mayor Eric Adams, Chancellor David C. Banks and AFT President Randi Weingarten. In his keynote address, UFT President Michael Mulgrew talked about how by lowering class size we can improve learning outcomes, enhance student-teacher relationships, make teaching more sustainable and reduce paperwork in one fell swoop. See photos from the event on the UFT website and check out members’ #UFTspring tweets that capture the spirit of the day.
Chapter Leader Checklist
- Make sure new hires have enrolled in the UFT: Schools hire staff throughout the school year. Union enrollment is not automatic. Please make a point of introducing yourself to every new hire in the UFT bargaining unit in your building, offering your support and asking them to fill out a UFT enrollment card or to enroll online. Check the nonmember report in the Chapter Leader Hub to see who hasn’t signed up yet.
- Contact your district rep if members are forced to sign extension of probation: 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 whether to sign. Contact your district rep each time a member receives an extension of probation or when your principal insists the member sign the extension without the proper time for a review.
- Sign up for the next 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 in person and virtual, attending is more convenient than ever. The next and final DA for this school year is Wednesday, June 8. Look out for the email invitation.
- 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:
- Working with the AFT and others on a multi-faceted campaign to address gun violence.
- Lawsuits to protect the due process rights of UFT members who were abruptly terminated for noncompliance with the vaccine mandate or on suspicion of submitting fraudulent proof of vaccination.
School Chapters on UFT.org
You Should Know
HEALTH & SAFETY
COVID numbers may be declining
COVID numbers may have peaked last week and appear to be decreasing. The number of positive cases reported to the Situation Room on May 23, was 20% lower than the number reported the previous Monday. This marked the first decrease in start-of-the-week numbers since February. The statewide COVID positivity rate is also falling. For the moment, New York City remains on high alert, with indoor masking recommended. The city Department of Health and the DOE sent a letter to all public school families on May 17 recommending that they wear masks indoors in public settings, but stopped short of reinstating the mask mandate.
School staff can get KN95 masks on request. The DOE has assured us that all schools have a 30-day supply. If your school lacks appropriate supplies, please report it immediately to your UFT chapter leader.
Free CTLE sessions on Apple tools
The UFT Teacher Center is offering multiple opportunities for free CTLE hours in May and June. All teachers and paras can register for one-hour virtual CTLE sessions featuring Apple applications to guide and enhance your classroom instruction. Register for the iMovie magic workshop and learn how to create your classroom videos using Apple's iMovie app. Register for the Accessibility for All with Apple workshop and familiarize yourself with the many accessibility options in the Settings section on iPad and iPhone. Sessions run through June 23.
U.S. history and government Regents exam canceled
The New York State Education Department announced on May 24 that the U.S. history and government Regents exam scheduled for June 1 has been canceled after NYSED determined that some content had the potential to compound student trauma caused by the tragic shooting in Buffalo. At the June 2022 Board of Regents meeting, NYSED will ask the Regents to approve a graduation exemption for students who were scheduled to take this exam. The Board of Regents is also considering exemptions for students planning to take this exam in June 2022, August 2022 and January 2023. The UFT is working to ensure that the exam cancellation has no negative impact on teacher ratings.
UFT certificates for student graduates
UFT officers and the chairs of the union’s 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 as well as early childhood classrooms and centers. Download the certificates of excellence in academic achievement and extraordinary effort. For more information, read the letter from UFT President Michael Mulgrew and George Altomare, the director of the UFT Professional Committees.
MEDICAL & WELLNESS
UFT podcast on talking to teens about mental health
Teenagers test limits and push boundaries. But some behaviors, such as withdrawal from friends and family or increased anger and mood swings, may indicate your teenager or child is struggling with their mental health. In this episode of Classroom Café, produced by the UFT’s Member Assistance Program, Lexi Mulee, a licensed mental health clinician and the founder of Wise Mind Counseling, discusses ways to build positive relationships with teenagers and the warning signs that a teenager may need help. Listen and subscribe to Classroom Café wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.
UFT urges city not to squander chance to lower class size
UFT President Michael Mulgrew called on the City Council not to squander this golden opportunity to establish new class-size limits that will help to restore trust in the public school system and bring families and their children back to New York City public schools. He noted that student enrollment in New York City public schools dropped this school year, and as a result, the citywide average class size is also down. The executive budget would turn back the clock on class sizes. “We cannot allow the DOE to return to pre-pandemic class-size levels,” Mulgrew testified. New York City public schools received $7.6 billion in federal stimulus funding during the pandemic and a large increase in state aid. “With such an infusion of funding available to our city’s schools, I ask, why are we considering an executive budget that looks to make $375 million in cuts to school budgets?” he asked.
Deadline to register to vote is June 3
The deadline to register to vote in the June 28 primary is Friday, June 3. This year, New York City voters may choose among candidates for the U.S. Senate, New York State Assembly and New York governor. The primary for candidates running for New York State Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives will take place in August. Members who have a state-issued Department of Motor Vehicles ID (driver's license, permit or non-driver ID) can register to vote online. Members who do not have a DMV-issued ID can print this form, fill it out and mail it to their local board of election. The complete mailing address can be found on page 2 of the form. The mail-in application must be postmarked by Friday, June 3, and received by the board of elections no later than Wednesday, June 8. The primaries for U.S. Congress and New York State Senate will be on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
SALARY & PERSONNEL
DOE guidance on June 7 clerical day
Tuesday, June 7, is a clerical day for K-5, K-6, 6-8, and K-12 schools and District 75 programs only. All staff who do not have reasonable accommodations/exemptions must report in person on clerical day. As in past years, the purpose of this day is to provide staff with the time to complete various tasks related to the annual reorganization of schools, to effectively close out the school year and to prepare for a strong reopening. Students in these schools/programs do not attend school on this date, and staff work their normal contractual workday. Students in grades 9–12 and 6–12 schools in Districts 1–32 attend for a regular day of instruction.
DOE guidance on PD days in June
For all schools, Thursday, June 9, is a Chancellor’s Conference Day for staff development, and Tuesday, June 28, is a professional development day. On both days, teachers and mandated related service providers are permitted to work remotely; however, the principal may, with reasonable advance notice, direct staff to be on site. Principals need to inform these employees if they are expected to work in person by Friday, May 27, for June 9 and by Tuesday, June 14, for June 28. Otherwise, principals should prepare to provide remote professional development on these two days. If your principal is not operating in the spirit of our agreement, reach out to your district rep. All staff in central titles report in person to their regular work assignment, including CSE staff.
Join us on June 12 for the Puerto Rican Day Parade
Sign up now to join the UFT contingent at the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday, June 12, as we march along Fifth Avenue in celebration of Puerto Rican heritage. The UFT contingent will assemble at 9:30 a.m. on West 46th Street and Sixth Avenue. For more information, see the Puerto Rican Day Parade flier. The parade organizers also need volunteers to help prepare for the parade in the week leading up to it and to help everything run smoothly on the day of the parade. Use the same registration form to offer to help.
School Secretaries Chapter’s 35th annual awards on June 11
Each year the UFT School Secretaries Chapter holds a year-end celebration at which school secretaries from each borough are honored. At its 35th annual School Secretaries Chapter Awards brunch on Saturday, June 11, the union will honor 17 school secretaries from across the city. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. at UFT headquarters. Only chapter leaders from those 17 schools where secretaries are being honored are asked to encourage their members to attend. Email invitations have been sent.
Recent guidance and agreements
- DOE letter to families on high COVID-19 rates (May 17, 2022)
- Updated DOE School Health Policy (May 11, 2022)
- Updated policies for use of DOE space (May 10, 2022)
- Updated end-of-school-year activities guidance (May 9, 2022)
- Updated DOE COVID-19 testing policies (May 4, 2022)
- Updated Situation Room tips for principals (April 21, 2022)
- DOE field trip guidance (April 13, 2022)
- Staff vaccination requirements (March 29, 2022)
- Updated DOE guidance on face coverings (March 10, 2022)
- Remote per-session work for the 2021–22 school year (November 2021)
- Mayor's Personnel Order No. 2021/2 on excused leave to get own child vaccinated (Nov. 8, 2021)
- DOE-UFT Memorandum of Agreement on remote instruction for the 2021-22 school year (Sept. 1, 2021)