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Chapter Leader UpdateSept. 9, 2022

A woman holding a sign reading "Welcome back IS 17 families! We missed you!" waves at students and families out of frame.

A WELCOME WAVE: Paraprofessional Servete Pelinkovic greets families on the first day of school at IS 27 on Staten Island. (Erica Berger)

This Week's Focus

Citywide chapter leader meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 14

Welcome to a new school year

Thanks to the dedication and hard work of our members, we had a smooth opening to the new school year. See the photos posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram of opening day across the city. We have our work cut out for us as a union: getting the Adams administration to bargain a new DOE-UFT contract, working with the DOE on the implementation plan for the new class-size law and pushing the city to fund the programs and supports our students need to recover from this pandemic. As chapter leaders, you know the importance of building a strong chapter in every school to ensure your members are safe, have the information they need and exercise their voice in school decisions that affect them and their students. Most critically, we count on you to listen to your members and have those one-on-one conversations so they know the UFT has their back. With your commitment and resolve, we can stay united, support one another and surmount the challenges ahead.

Gov. Hochul signs historic class size bill

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Sept. 8 signed into law landmark legislation that will lower class sizes in New York City by a third over the next six years, closing a decades-long gap in class sizes between the city and the rest of the state. Read the news article on the UFT website. Chapter leaders should emphasize to members that the passage of this bill is a testament to the organizing work that they did last school year and that it is only the first step in the journey ahead. The current school year will be a planning year and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks told NY1 on Thursday evening that the DOE would work together with the UFT and the Governor’s Office to implement the law. We encourage you to carefully review the FAQ so you can help your members understand the basics. Remember to thank all the UFT members, parents, community activists and state Sen. John Liu who helped us reach this historic moment.

Check out our FAQ

Report class size issues to your district rep on Sept. 15 

The DOE-UFT contract provides a fast-track process to address classes above the contractual class-size limits. Chapter leaders play a central role in this process. We need you to report class size data in your school to your UFT district representative on Day 1 (Thursday, Sept. 8), Day 6 (Thursday, Sept. 15), Day 10 (Wednesday, Sept. 21), Day 14 (Thursday, Sept. 29) and Day 19 (Friday, Oct. 7).  Please obtain your school’s RACL (elementary or middle schools) or Master Schedule Final (high schools), which indicates class sizes on these dates. You have 10 school days to try to come to an informal resolution with your principal. We fought for years to strengthen the process for addressing oversize classes so it’s critical to exercise our rights. You can read about the expedited process to address oversize classes on the UFT website. Please reach out to your district rep if you have any questions. Please reach out to your UFT district rep if you have any questions. It’s important that you meet these reporting deadlines.

Update on school budget cuts fight

The UFT, together with parents and education advocacy groups, spent the summer pressuring Mayor Eric Adams to reverse his unnecessary cuts to school funding when the city has more state and federal school aid than ever before and our students’ needs coming out of the pandemic are great. The mayor, however, doubled down, and the new school year has started with those cuts in place. The next phase of this fight is on Sept. 29, when the state appeals court holds a hearing to determine whether the Adams administration violated state law by allowing the City Council to vote on the full budget before the citywide Panel for Educational Policy voted on the education portion. Read the news story on the UFT website.

DOE issues health and safety protocols for 2022-23

The DOE in late August released its health and safety protocols for the 2022-23 school year. The protocols closely follow the CDC’s new COVID-19 guidelines for schools. Key components include:

  • All staff and students will receive four at-home rapid tests each month.
  • Masks remain optional for students and staff at all grade levels.
  • The upgraded ventilation protocol continues this school year. Every classroom will receive two air purifiers.
  • Any staff member or student who tests positive must isolate at home for five days and wear a mask from Day 6 to 10.

“As COVID changes as a disease, our responses also have to evolve,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew. “While the distribution of at-home tests has been reduced, the DOE has assured us that additional at-home tests will be available for any schools that need them. We also urge parents to make sure that they and all eligible children receive vaccines and boosters.” See our FAQ for the 2022-23 school year for more information. 

Read the DOE guidance

March in the Labor Day Parade on Sept. 10

Workers across the nation are voting to unionize at a remarkable pace and public support for labor unions is its highest in more than 50 years. Please join your fellow UFT members as we march tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 10, with other city unions in a demonstration of the vitality and importance of the labor movement in New York City. Starting at 11 a.m., at our assembly point on West 47th Street between 5th and 6th avenues, we'll enjoy music from a DJ and a complimentary lunch from a selection of food trucks. Then, around 1:15 p.m., we'll begin to march up 5th Avenue. You must pre-register. Each registrant will receive a wristband, a meal ticket and a UFT umbrella. If you plan to bring guests, please add their information when you register. Please also use the hashtags #LDP2022 and #UnionProud when you post photos to Twitter and Instagram. We hope to see you there! 

Register now

Chapter Leader Checklist

  • To Do #1: Register for the citywide chapter leader meeting
    Chapter leaders should attend the citywide chapter leader meeting next Wednesday, Sept. 14, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Chapter leaders may attend in person at UFT headquarters or remotely, but everyone must register in advance. Look for the email invitation that you received on Sept. 7.
  • To Do #2: Enroll new hires in the UFT
    Take a moment to welcome and offer your support to any new staff in your building, whether they are members who were excessed or new hires. We enrolled 1,700 new teachers in the union at a New Teacher Week event on Aug. 29, but we were unable to contact every single new hire. You can see the list of nonmembers in your chapter in the Chapter Leader Hub. Please extend a personal invitation to join the UFT to every new hire in your building who is not yet a member and collect their union enrollment card. 
  • To Do #3: Grievance process opens on Sept. 6
    After a summer hiatus, the grievance process reopened on Tuesday, Sept. 6, the first day that educators reported back to work. That commencement date applies to reorganization grievances, which need to be filed by chapter leaders within two school days of knowledge of the violation. View detailed information about the grievance process on the UFT website.
  • To Do #4: Organize your consultation committee
    Make sure that you have a UFT consultation committee that meets monthly with the principal. This committee has a critical purpose: to discuss and attempt to resolve issues at the school level before they escalate. When the consultation committee cannot resolve an issue, bring it to the attention of your UFT district representative. After each meeting, please file an online consultation committee report. Find out more about the role and responsibilities of the UFT consultation committee.
  • To Do #5: Are you a new chapter leader? Training begins in mid-October
    New chapter leaders should save the date for UFT chapter leader training, part 1, at the Sleepy Hollow Conference Center on Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16. This weekend training session, the first in a three-part series, is designed to give newly elected chapter leaders the tools and resources they need to effectively lead their school chapters. An email invitation to eligible chapter leaders will be sent soon.
  • To Do #6: 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.

Hub Highlights

Chapter leaders have access to our Knowledge Base, a deep and extensive repository of information in the Chapter Leader Hub. This searchable database will provide answers to many of the questions your members ask about their rights and benefits as UFT members. Whether it’s the process for obtaining a health benefit provided by the UFT Welfare Fund or accessing accurate information about retention rights, the Knowledge Base has the answers. Remember: You access the hub using your UFT website username and password.

Enter the hub

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 through various issues with the DOE’s treatment of members seeking medical accommodations for the 2022-23 school year.
  • Encouraging the DOE to participate in joint DOE-UFT training on the operational issues process.

You Should Know


Use operational issues process to resolve workplace issues

This school year, we are using the pre-pandemic operational issues process to resolve school-level workplace issues for all UFT members including functional chapter members. School chapters can use the operational issues process to quickly resolve violations of the negotiated systemwide standards covering paperwork, curriculum, professional development, basic instructional supplies, workload and space. Chapter leaders should go to the Chapter Leader Hub to submit a UFT online paperwork and operational issues report the same day they attempt to resolve the issue with their principals through a one-on-one conversation, an email or their UFT consultation committees. From that day, you and your principal have five school days to resolve the issue. If still unresolved, the issue may be escalated to the District Paperwork and Operational Committee. If unresolved at the district level, the central committee, which meets monthly, will review it. The UFT can take any unresolved issues concerning paperwork, curriculum, professional development and basic instructional supplies to arbitration. Unresolved workload and space issues affecting functional chapter members can be escalated to the UFT president and the schools chancellor, or their designees.

Parent-teacher conferences are remote again this year

All parent-teacher conferences will again be conducted remotely during the 2022-23 school year. UFT-represented staff are not required to attend evening conferences at the school building and may conduct the afternoon conferences remotely if their commute allows. Parents and caregivers may request an in-person conference at a time other than the scheduled parent-teacher conference dates. These in-person conferences must be on a mutually agreed-upon date and time, take place during the contractual workday and conducted in a manner consistent with the school safety plan. Single-session schools hold four three-hour evening conferences a year in September, November, March and May and two two-hour afternoon conferences a year in November and March unless these schools conducted an SBO vote to create a six-hour, 50-minute day. Multi-session schools and schools that have a six-hour and 50-minute day do not participate in the September and May evening parent-teacher conferences. These schools have two two-hour afternoon parent-teacher conferences and two 2½-hour evening conferences in November and March.

See all conference dates for 2022-23

Schools can conduct SBO votes through Oct. 31

School chapter leaders may initiate fall school-based options (SBOs) for the 2022-23 school year from Thursday, Sept. 8, to Monday, Oct. 31, as long as the SBO does not change the times of the students’ school day. These SBO votes are conducted online through Election Buddy. You should follow the regular SBO process, including meeting with your chapter and your principal to discuss possible modifications. If there is agreement, an SBO ballot should be created. Your UFT district representative must approve the ballot prior to the vote being set up in Election Buddy.

Here are a couple of caveats relating to these fall SBOs:

  • Prior to creating compensatory time positions for a special education/IEP coordinator, make sure your school is in compliance and there are no special education vacancies.
  • The only SBO-permitted calendar change is to move the afternoon parent-teacher conference to different days. In addition to an approved SBO, all calendar changes must be approved in writing by the DOE, which will inform your principal in writing. If your principal does not receive approval, the SBO cannot be implemented.
  • The 155 minutes cannot be virtual or divided into blocks of time that are less than 30 minutes, because the DOE will not approve.

Learn more


Information and guidance on monkeypox

Some UFT members have expressed concern about the rise in documented cases of monkeypox in the United States. In response, the union’s health and safety team has assembled information on the UFT website about the symptoms, how the virus spreads, how to protect yourself and what to do if you are exposed. Confirmed monkeypox cases should be treated the same way as other communicable diseases, which is to follow guidance from the patient’s doctor for isolation and return to work. Your principal may contact their on-site nurse, the DOE Office of School Health, or the city Department of Health’s Bureau of Communicable Diseases for guidance regarding communicable diseases. Refer to the DOE Office of School Health’s Communicable Disease Reporting Guide for more instruction on the protocols for reporting communicable diseases and outbreaks in schools. School staff must maintain confidentiality when it comes to the health information of students and colleagues.

Read our fact sheet


Inquiry form for concerns about APPR ratings

Final APPR ratings for the 2021-22 school year were sent to teachers on Sept. 1 at their DOE email addresses. If UFT members have questions about their final ratings, let them know that the union is here to support them. If a teacher at your school believes their final rating is incorrect, they should speak to their district representative and submit a UFT online inquiry form. When submitting an inquiry, the member will have to upload the PDF of the complete rating booklet sent by the DOE. If a member received a final rating of Developing or Ineffective, they may be eligible to file an appeal. A ratings specialist at the union will review their case and contact the member as soon as possible regarding any next steps. If a retired member or a member who has resigned contacts you because they cannot access their final APPR rating report, tell them to email to request it. They should make sure to include their full name and employee ID number in the email for verification. You can find detailed information about the DOE’s teacher evaluation process in the evaluation section of the UFT website.


New UFT benefit: free assessment tool from MSK

The UFT Welfare Fund’s Health and Cancer Helpline, in partnership with Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center, has launched a new cancer-assessment tool for UFT members. Members can access this free, short assessment to receive personal screening recommendations from MSK. They can learn whether they are due for a cancer screening or if they’re at higher risk for certain cancers and may benefit from genetic testing. The assessment tool is available in English and Spanish. As a reminder, through the MSK Direct program, UFT members and their families with concerns regarding cancer treatment may call the dedicated MSK phone line for UFT members at 844-350-5034.

Start the assessment


It’s time to apply for school-based parking permits

It’s time for school-based UFT members to apply for their new parking permits. The DOE’s self-service portal opens on Monday, Sept. 12, and remains open through Monday, Oct. 3. The following parking permits are available to UFT members if there are DOT-designated on-street parking spaces at your school:

  • On-street general (OSG) parking
  • Itinerant on-street (OSI) parking

The DOE will deliver parking permits to your school by Nov. 1, which is when last year’s parking permits expire. The new DOE parking permits are distributed after the expired parking permits are collected. Please remember to tell your members that OSG parking permits are school specific. These permits specify the school name and the designated streets for parking. School-based staff who work at more than one school are issued itinerant on-street (OSI) parking permits for use at assigned schools with available DOT-designated street-parking spaces. These spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For questions, email (Please note: The DOE’s self-service portal works best in Google Chrome.)

Agreement on digital classrooms for 2022-23

The UFT concluded negotiations with the DOE in late August on members’ rights and responsibilities regarding digital classrooms and remote instruction for the current school year. This collectively bargained agreement states that digital classrooms will be used to conduct remote parent-teacher conferences, provide live instruction on snow days and provide asynchronous instruction for students who are isolating following a positive COVID-19 test (with pay for office hours). As it did last year, the union made sure that teachers and related service providers would be appropriately compensated for the work of setting up their digital classrooms. Members will receive $225 on or about Oct. 31 for completing this task.

Read the full agreement

How to apply for salary increases

All pedagogues and paraprofessionals who are eligible to apply for salary steps, differentials and upgrades must use the online Salary Application Portal for DOE employees. Pedagogues have two applications: one for salary steps (outside and inside experience credit) and one for education (differentials). New DOE employees applying for outside experience credit must also use the portal. The union recommends that new employees apply for salary step placement even if they lack prior experience because they need a date from which future steps can be computed. Without such a date, employees will only go up one step each year instead of two. The portal gets busy so it may slow down or freeze. Transcripts must be original, and a watermark must be visible.


This year's Teacher's Choice allotments

Thanks to the UFT’s advocacy, members will receive the same amount for Teacher's Choice for the 2022-23 school year as they did last school year. The City Council program, initiated by the UFT more than 25 years ago, reimburses educators for classroom and school supplies. The purchasing period for eligible supplies began on Aug. 1 and continues through mid-January. Teachers, school counselors, social workers, school psychologists, school secretaries and lab specialists all receive Teacher’s Choice allotments. Members should save their receipts and submit them along with a DOE Statement of Purpose/Accountability form in early 2023. They will receive their Teacher’s Choice funds in their last November or first December paycheck. To see this year’s allotments and read more information about the program, see the Teacher’s Choice section of the UFT website.

New chapter leader-focused calendar alerts

In recent focus groups, school chapter leaders told us that they wanted a heads up on deadlines and important milestone dates. Our first step was creating calendar alerts in the Chapter Leader Hub. Now, we’ve overhauled the calendar section in your Chapter Leader Update (see below) to highlight the dates and milestones that are most important to you in your work as chapter leader.

Contact the UFT

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