Chapter Leader UpdateJan. 5, 2023
Chapter Leader UpdateJan. 5, 2023
This Week's Focus
Get trained to lead your school’s contract teach-in
We are counting on chapter leaders to sign up for the Contract Action Team and help organize a contract teach-in at their school on Jan. 30 as our next citywide Day of Action. A teach-in is a participatory discussion oriented towards action. At this teach-in, the Contract Action Team will engage their colleagues in a discussion about the power of our contract in shaping our experience as educators and what we want to achieve in this next contract. Then the chapter will brainstorm actions the school can organize as part of our fight for the contract we deserve. In preparation for these teach-ins, we are holding training sessions for Contract Action Team members where we will provide the lesson plan and the PowerPoint presentation for the teach-in and answer any questions you may have. The one-hour training session will be offered three times: on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 4 p.m. (virtual); on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 4 p.m. (virtual); or at 52 Broadway immediately following the Jan. 18 Delegate Assembly for chapter leaders and delegates only.
If you have not yet signed up for your school’s Contract Action Team, please sign up first before registering for the training session. We want chapter leaders to lead their school’s Contract Action Team or help identify a colleague who can serve in that role.
Register for a training session
Queens communities oppose Success Academy co-locations
An effort by Eva Moskowitz and her Success Academy corporate charter school chain to elbow their way into two school buildings in southeastern Queens has met with unprecedented community opposition. The two sites — the Springfield Boulevard campus that houses four public schools in Springfield Gardens and the Catherine and Count Basie campus in Rochdale Village, where there are three public schools — have mustered fierce opposition that has included student leaders in its ranks."We had to make sure the community hears us" about the harm the co-location would do to the four public schools on the grounds, said Najwa Waysome, an 11th-grader at Excelsior Preparatory HS in Springfield Gardens who helped organize a Dec. 15 walkout of students. Students and staff say any available space on the two campuses is needed to accommodate their growing student enrollment and the smaller classes that will be required under the new state law. Members of the public are invited to comment before the citywide Panel for Educational Policy votes on the two proposed co-locations on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The meeting is scheduled at Long Island City HS (14-30 Broadway) at 6 p.m. You can sign up to speak starting at 5:30 p.m. at the high school. Read the news article on the UFT website.
Last chance to make Teacher’s Choice purchases
Remind your members that the Teacher’s Choice purchasing window, which began on Aug. 1, closes on Friday, Jan. 13. The receipts for those purchases must be submitted with a Statement of Purpose/Accountability form, by Friday, Jan. 20, to your school’s payroll secretary. Members who received Teacher’s Choice funds in their November 2022 paycheck but don’t file an accountability form with required receipts by the deadline must return the money to the DOE. For more information, go to the Teacher’s Choice section of the UFT website. Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) members who are assigned to your school the week of Jan. 16 must submit proof of eligible purchases on the DOE’s accountability form to your school’s principal by Friday, Jan. 20.
Chapter Leader Checklist
To Do #1
New chapter leaders, register now for Jan. 28-29 training
We encourage new chapter leaders to join us in person at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel and Conference Center on Saturday, Jan. 28, and Sunday, Jan. 29, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., for the second part of our four-part chapter leader training series. Chapter leaders will attend workshops on time and attendance, investigations, school safety, the power and pitfalls of social media and how to navigate school budgets. We would like new chapter leaders to attend all four training sessions, but if you missed part one, you are still welcome to attend part two.
To Do #2
Check to see if your chapter is 100% union
One of a school chapter leader’s primary responsibilities is to ensure that all UFT-represented staff become dues-paying union members. Go to the Chapter Leader Hub to regularly check your school’s Member/Nonmember Report to see if all school employees in the UFT bargaining unit have joined the union. This report now lists the job title of each employee. Ask your payroll secretary to give you a heads up when a new hire comes on board so you can welcome them and ask them to enroll in the UFT by completing the online union enrollment form or by filling out an enrollment card. If you don’t have any enrollment cards, please ask your district representative for more.
To Do #3
Have you submitted your consultation committee summary?
Your consultation committee summary for your December meeting with your principal is due the week of Jan. 9. Please submit your summary via the Chapter Leader Hub. Submission of meeting summaries will be a factor in the size of your supplementary stipend in June.
To Do #4
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.
Find key dates and milestones in the hub
Did you know Jan. 30 is the fall-window deadline for teacher observations? Did you know that preference sheets must be provided to K-6 teachers by mid-March and to high school teachers by the end of April? The Chapter Leader Hub has a calendar of important deadlines and milestones to keep chapter leaders on track throughout the school year. Remember, you can access the hub using your UFT website username and password.
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 DOE on new guidance to clarify the SETSS model.
- Pushing the DOE to take common-sense steps to plan for compliance with the state class-size law.
- Pushing the City Council to pass recently introduced legislation to amend the city’s administrative code to preserve retiree health plan options.
- Negotiating with Aetna on a new Medicare Advantage plan for Medicare-eligible city retirees that goes beyond GHI Senior Care
You Should Know
HEALTH & SAFETY
Government provides free at-home COVID tests
The Biden administration is once again providing four free at-home COVID tests per U.S. household this winter. All you have to do is provide your address. Orders usually ship in seven to 12 days.
Fall observation window closes on Monday, Jan. 30
Teachers should have received half of their observations by Monday, Jan. 30, which is the last day of the fall term. If you have not had half of your observations by this date, you can file an APPR complaint on the UFT website. You could receive an observation report from a fall observation during the spring term, but you cannot be observed in the spring term until after you have received written reports for all your fall observations.
Consider a professional conversation
Midyear professional conversations provide an opportunity for teachers and evaluators to reflect on a teacher’s growth and the need for additional support from the school leader during the cycle of observation, reflection, feedback, support and development. These conferences are optional for teachers except those with a Teacher Improvement Plan. See your administrator if you would like to hold a midyear professional conversation. The deadline to hold a midyear professional conversation is Friday, April 28.
MEDICAL & WELLNESS
Learn about resilience after trauma on the Classroom Café
Trauma shapes the way that students present in the classroom and in their homes. In this episode of the Classroom Café podcast created by the UFT’s Member Assistance Program, licensed mental health professional Ashley Groesbeck highlights the importance of finding out what's going on in your students' lives and shares techniques to help students build body awareness and mindfulness. These and other tools help students — and adults — to build resiliency and increase their capacity for joy and growth. Listen and subscribe to Classroom Café wherever you listen to podcasts so you don’t miss an episode.
SALARY & PERSONNEL
Online tax forms for DOE employees
In-service DOE employees can access their W-2, 1127 waiver and 1095-C tax forms online on the NYCAPS Employee Self Service web page. DOE employees who asked for electronic delivery of their tax forms will receive them via email by the end of January. The tax forms will be mailed to all other employees at the address on file at the DOE. UFT members who received parental leave payments from the UFT will not receive a UFT-issued W-2 form on those earnings. Those earnings will be documented on their DOE W-2 form instead. In-service members who work per session do not receive a separate W-2 form; per-session income is included on their regular W-2 form. Members who are not on DOE payroll, including retirees, will have their tax forms mailed from the city Office of Payroll Administration.
Assist paraprofessionals who have received termination notices
The city DOE recently sent termination notices to paraprofessionals who have not completed their certification requirements. Please tell these paras that they should read the notice carefully for next steps and can log into their TEACH account on the State Education Department’s website and find out what they are missing. Paraprofessionals who have received notice of termination for lack of college credits can apply between Feb. 1 and March 31 for the Career Training Program for the summer semester. The program pays tuition for from three to six credits per semester for undergraduate study at participating colleges and universities. Two and a half hours per week of release time and/or a summer stipend are also provided to support study. Paraprofessionals who have received a notice of termination and have specific questions should contact the UFT’s team of certification specialists — including Monica Christie or Jeremiah Bornemann — at 212-331-6311.
Assist pedagogues with certification problems
The DOE recently sent termination notices to teachers, school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists who have not completed their certification requirements for their professional or permanent state certificate. These members should log in to their TEACH account on the State Education Department’s website to determine their next steps in becoming fully certified. Pedagogues who have received a notice of termination and have specific questions should contact a UFT certification specialist at 212-331-6311.
January 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 a child. Upcoming workshops are scheduled for every Thursday in January. More will be scheduled each month. All workshops are online from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information about these benefits, see the paid parental leave section of the UFT website.
DOE now a state-approved provider of school social worker CEUs
The city Department of Education is now recognized by the state as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers. All approved social work Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be offered and issued by the DOE’s Central Crisis Support Team. These courses will be free to all DOE-employed, licensed social workers. The DOE’s course offerings are aligned to best practices in school social work and provide participants with culturally responsive research and evidence-based interventions as well as strategies to improve students' outcome. The DOE’s upcoming in-person CEU professional learning offerings for school social workers can be found on the DOE website (you must log in).
Nominate a colleague for an academic high school award
Celebrate the exceptional work of fellow union colleagues by submitting a nomination for the Academic High School Awards! Submissions can be made in the following categories:
- Outstanding UFT Activist Award for a UFT member in an academic high school who demonstrates a commitment to union activism.
- Excellence in Education Award for a high school teacher who has displayed a remarkable teaching practice.
- Community Champion Award for a school-related professional (such as a paraprofessional, school secretary, school counselor, social worker, school psychologist or nurse) in an academic high school who is dedicated to their school community.
- Team High School Award for a school/UFT chapter that demonstrates excellence.
The deadline for nominations is Monday, Jan. 30. The winners will be honored at the union’s annual Academic High School Awards Celebration at UFT headquarters on Friday, May 5. If you are an academic high school chapter leader, please post this flier on your UFT bulletin board. If you have any questions, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come to the UFT African Heritage Committee’s scholarship awards dinner dance
In celebration of Black History Month, you are invited to join the UFT African Heritage Committee for its 20th annual scholarship awards dinner dance on Friday, Feb. 3, from 7 p.m. to midnight, at Antun’s Queens Village, located at 96-43 Springfield Blvd. This year’s theme is “Thriving into our Future.” In addition to awarding scholarships to graduating seniors, the committee will confer its Trailblazer Award, Frederick Douglass Award for Civil and Human Rights and Mary McLeod Bethune Award for Teacher Excellence. The cost per person is $110. See the flier for payment instructions. For additional information, contact Wendy Walker Wilson, the committee chair, at email@example.com.
Recent Guidance and Agreements
- DOE school health policy (Dec. 23, 2022)
- Situation Room tips for principals (Nov. 17, 2022)
- Updates on the DOE's Grading, Attendance and Messaging Application (GAMA) (Sept. 16, 2022)
- Digital classroom agreement for 2022-23 (Aug. 24, 2022)
- Personnel Memo No. 1 for 2022-23 (July 1, 2022)
- Mayor's Personnel Order No. 2021/2 on excused leave to get own children vaccinated (Nov. 8, 2021)
Contact the UFT
- DOE members, call 212-331-6311.
- DOE functional chapter members, call 212-331-6312.
- A health benefit question? Call the Welfare Fund at 212-539-0500.