Skip to main content
Full Menu Close Menu

Chapter Leader UpdateFeb. 17, 2023

A group of seven women where green and black clothing and hold signs expressing solidarity between DC37 and the United Federation of Teachers

GOING GREEN: To show support for DC 37 during its contract negotiations with the city on Feb. 16, educators at PS 154 in Harlem (including Chapter Leader Cheryl Moss, far right) and District 5 Representative Zina Burton-Myrick wore green and black alongside their school’s cafeteria workers and other DC 37 members. (Jonathan Fickies)

This Week's Focus

DC 37 reaches a tentative contract agreement

DC 37 reached a tentative five-year contract agreement yesterday after its members have been working without a contract since May 2021. Their tentative contract offers 3% increases in each of the first four years, and a 3.25% raise in the fifth year, plus additional money for salary adjustments, a child care trust fund and a ratification bonus. While we know the financials of DC 37’s tentative agreement will have implications for all municipal unions because of pattern bargaining, the fight must continue in our own negotiations. We will be closely analyzing the tentative agreement, which must be ratified by DC 37 members before taking effect, to determine its full value and see how we can maximize that financial package to get the most for our members in our own negotiations. We will also continue to push at the bargaining table on our noneconomic working-condition demands. Among our priorities are paperwork reduction, health and safety, time and autonomy, and special education.

Day of Action shows labor unity in fight for fair contract

On Thursday, in schools and worksites across the city, UFT members wore black and green in solidarity with their DC 37 co-workers as DC 37 met with the city at the bargaining table. As part of their campaign for a fair contract, DC 37 asked its members to wear their union colors that day. By standing with them in this Day of Action, we sent a clear message to the city that municipal workers are united in our efforts to get the contracts we deserve. While DC 37 has now reached a tentative agreement, our fight for a fair contract continues. Over the past five months of our contract campaign, we have made ourselves visible throughout the city, and we want to build on that momentum with more citywide actions after the break. Our 500-member UFT Negotiating Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to discuss how the DC 37 agreement affects us and our path forward.

Public does not favor charter expansion

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to lift the state’s charter school cap and significantly expand the number of charter schools operating in New York City is badly out of step with the wishes of New York state residents, according to a new poll by Hart Research Associates. Opposition was overwhelming across all parts of the state, among both Democrats and Republicans, and across all racial groups. “Parents and the community really do not want an expansion of charter schools at this time,” said UFT President Michael Mulgrew during a Feb. 9 press briefing to announce the poll results. According to the poll, 81% of voters said the state’s educational emphasis should be on “strengthening neighborhood public schools,” not increasing charter schools. Read the news story on the UFT website.

See the poll results

UFT presses state lawmakers to reject charter expansion

In state budget testimony on Feb. 8, UFT Vice President for Elementary Schools Karen Alford applauded Gov. Kathy Hochul's commitment to fully fund public schools but warned that any expansion of charter schools in New York City would come at the expense of public schools. Alford noted New York City diverted a whopping $3 billion in its education budget last year to fund charter schools, seven times higher than the $418 million diverted in the 2009-10 city budget. Alford pressed the legislators to pass two pieces of legislation to address glaring problems in the charter sector: a bill to make the state Board of Regents the sole charter authorizer in the state and a bill to increase transparency in how charters raise and spend money and hold them accountable for the high number of student suspensions and the under-enrollment of students with disabilities, English language learners and students in temporary housing. UFT members head to Albany on Monday, March 13, for UFT Lobby Day to support increased state school aid, speak to lawmakers about how public schools suffer when corporate charter chains expand, and appeal for funding for the UFT’s proven education initiatives, including the UFT Teacher Center, United Community Schools and the Positive Learning Collaborative.

Read the testimony

See the union's legislative priorities

Special election in Paraprofessionals Chapter this spring

You should receive a notice of the Paraprofessionals Chapter special election in the mail from the UFT this week. Please post this election notice on your UFT bulletin board. The UFT is accepting nominations for the following seven chapter positions: chapter leader, first vice chairperson, second vice chairperson, secretary, treasurer and two at-large Executive Board positions. Paraprofessionals in good standing who want to run for one of these offices must collect at least 50 paraprofessional signatures on the nominating petition (also available in all UFT borough offices). A candidate may also submit a statement of no more than 75 words, which will be included on the ballot. The deadline for receipt of the nomination petitions and this statement is Wednesday, March 22, at 5 p.m. All previously elected officers and at-large Executive Board members continue to serve. After the election this spring, the newly elected officers will finish the term ending June 30, 2024.

See the special election section

Come to the UFT’s Early Childhood Conference on April 1

Please encourage UFT members who work with children in 3K through second grade to attend the union’s 15th annual Early Childhood Education Conference at UFT headquarters on Saturday, April 1, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Veteran teacher David Bedard, the early childhood music program specialist for Daniel’s Music Foundation, will bring his unique insights on engaging young learners through music. Attendees can earn up to four CTLE hours in workshops tailored to the specific needs of young learners. Participants can choose from among 10 workshops. UFT President Michael Mulgrew will give greetings, and UFT Vice President of Elementary Schools Karen Alford will deliver a welcome address. The fee is $35 for pedagogues and $25 for paraprofessionals. School Leadership Team members may use a school purchase order to attend this event. Contact Glen Lopez at for more information. For detailed descriptions of the workshops and other information, see the conference brochure.

Register now

Chapter Leader Checklist

To Do #1
Next weekend training for new chapter leaders is now March 4-5

The date for Part 3 of chapter leader training has changed from the weekend of March 18 to the weekend of March 4. New chapter leaders have been invited to join us in person at the Sleepy Hollow Hotel and Conference Center on Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., for the third 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. New chapter leaders should try to attend all four training sessions, but if you missed Part 2, you are still welcome to attend Part 3.

To Do #2
Secure items prior to the mid-winter break

Chapter leaders should remind members to protect themselves against theft by securing all personal belongings and valuable school equipment such as laptops and projectors during the break. For more tips, read this article on the UFT website. Please distribute the NYPD Larceny Prevention flier in your members’ mailboxes and post it on your UFT bulletin board.

To Do #3
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

Check COPE membership on the Chapter Leader Hub

Members’ voluntary contributions to our Committee on Political Education, COPE — not union dues — fund the union’s political work with members, communities and elected officials. By contributing to COPE each month, UFT members ensure their voices are heard by lawmakers on the issues that matter to us. COPE’s recent impact can be seen in the passage of state legislation to reduce class sizes, the extension of survivor benefits for the families of COVID victims and the enactment of a law ensuring paraprofessionals are automatically enrolled in the Teachers’ Retirement System. Find out which members at your school contribute to COPE on the COPE report for your school in the Chapter Leader Hub. Remember, you can access the Chapter Leader 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: 

  • Pushing the DOE to complete a plan on implementing the state class-size legislation. 
  • Ensuring paraprofessionals get duty-free lunch on field trip days.
  • Pressing the DOE to provide remote placements for members with medical conditions that put them at high risk from COVID.
  • Beginning discussions with the DOE on the 2023-24 school calendar.
  • Pushing to get shortage pay for Central School-based Evaluation Team (CSET) and itinerant pre-K speech teachers.
  • Lobbying to block the governor’s plan to expand charter schools and pass legislation in Albany to remove the city’s obligation to provide space for charters in public school buildings or pay their rent.
  • Advocating to improve Tier 6 pension benefits.

You Should Know


Computer-based state tests for Grades 3-8 to be phased in

The New York State Education Department is piloting computed-based testing and now plans to make the transition from paper tests to computer-based tests over the next four years. Beginning in spring 2024, all students in Grades 5 and 8 will be required to take ELA, math and science tests on the computer. Students in other grades may also participate in computer-based testing, but paper tests will still be available for these students. In spring 2025, students in Grades 4 and 6 will also be required to take their math and ELA state tests on the computer. Finally, marking the completion of the phase-in process in spring 2026, students in Grades 3 and 7 will take their state tests on the computer. Computer-based testing for the NYSESLAT has been postponed. This school year, state ELA exams will be administered on April 19-20, and math exams will be administered on May 2-3.

Read the state guidance

UFT invites new members to a March 1 meeting

Encourage colleagues in their first three years on the job at your school to attend the UFT New Member Committee’s next virtual meeting on Wednesday, March 1, at 4:30 p.m. to hear about the issues that affect them as newer UFT members and DOE employees. The committee meets several times each school year to talk about the DOE-UFT contract and the rights and benefits of new and newer members. At the end of each meeting, attendees are invited to join the New Member Committee and participate in the UFT’s ongoing conversations about how to better support new members.

Register now

AFT offers media literacy tool to gauge website reliability

The AFT has formed a partnership with NewsGuard to offer a free media literacy tool to AFT members, their students and their families. NewsGuard is a browser extension, available in Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Edge, that evaluates news and information websites on the internet. When you or your students visit a website, you’ll be able to hover over the NewsGuard icon to see how the site is rated against NewsGuard’s nine criteria of credibility (does the site publish reliable information, publish responsibly and distinguish between news and opinion?) and transparency (does the site disclose its financial backers, clearly label its advertising and reveal its potential conflicts of interest?). Click on the icon to see NewsGuard’s complete “nutrition label” for each site. (The Washington Post, for example, rates a 100% for “high credibility”; One America News stands at 17.5%, or "proceed with maximum caution.") NewsGuard is available for more than 8,500 news and information sites. Visit NewsGuard Tech to access the extension (after you sign up, check your email for the access code).


The exhausted educator: How to combat burnout

Are you tired? Do you want to make some changes in your work-life balance but don’t know where to start? In this episode of the UFT Member Assistance Program’s Classroom Café podcast, a licensed counselor Norbi Forero, the clinical director of community services at HelloHero, addresses the challenges facing exhausted educators. She identifies the symptoms of burnout and shares innovative strategies to transform our relationship with work and stress.

Listen to the podcast


Apply for a fall study sabbatical by March 20

UFT members who are teachers may apply for a sabbatical leave to enhance their teaching skills. Eligible teachers have until March 20 to submit an application on SOLAS for a study sabbatical for the 2023–24 school year. March 27 is the deadline for a principal’s recommendation to the superintendent. Coursework must be rigorous and related to one’s teaching assignment. All teachers are eligible for a one-year study sabbatical after 14 years of service. Junior high or high school classroom teachers with seven years on the job may also apply for a six-month study sabbatical for the spring semester only. During a study sabbatical, whether six months or a full year, teachers earn 70 percent of their salary. Throughout the year, eligible teachers may also apply for a sabbatical leave to restore their health if they are ill or achieve state certification in a shortage area. During a yearlong sabbatical for restoration of health, teachers earn 70 percent of their salary, too. Find out more in the sabbatical leaves section of the UFT website. Members can read the current guidelines and eligibility requirements in the DOE sabbatical memo, which the DOE updates and reissues each spring, and Chancellor’s Regulation C-650 on Sabbatical Leaves of Absence.

March workshops on parental leave benefits

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 on Wednesdays, from 4 to 6 p.m., on March 8, March 22 and March 29 and on Saturday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information, see the paid parental leave section of the UFT website.

Register now


UFT School Counselors Conference on March 11

School counselors from across the city are invited to attend the 19th annual UFT School Counselor Conference at union headquarters on Saturday, March 11, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. This year’s conference, School Counselors: The Glue that Holds Our Schools Together, will focus on the support that school counselors provide their students. The keynote speaker, ebony A. Innis, is the director of youth and transition services at INCLUDEnyc and oversees the development and continuation of programs supporting young people with disabilities in their transition to postsecondary life. Morning sessions include panels of school counselors, by grade levels, who will address the challenges they've faced in the past three years including low attendance, low morale and student anxiety.

Register now

Secure your spot at the Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon

Consider joining a group of paraprofessionals from your school for this year's annual Paraprofessional Festival and Awards Luncheon, which takes place on Saturday, March 25, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s the first time in four years that we are holding a full-scale luncheon at the New York Hilton at 1335 Sixth Ave. In addition to the awards ceremony, the event offers CTLE workshops, a carnival with games and prizes, a bag full of wellness freebies, a chance to win raffle prizes, breakfast and a luncheon. The keynote speaker is AFT Vice President Evelyn DeJesus, a former UFT vice president who began her career as a paraprofessional. The registration fee is $25 per person. Paras who would like to take a workshop for CTLE hours pay an additional fee of $7.50 for each workshop attended. School Leadership Team members may use funds allocated to the team to pay for registration fees by using a school-generated event purchase order. For detailed instructions on how to pay by purchase order, see this UFT purchase order memo.

Register now

Come to the UFT’s HERstory brunch to celebrate Women’s History Month

Please join us for the UFT’s fifth annual HERstory brunch on Saturday, March 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the UFT’s Queens borough office, at 118-35 Queens Blvd., 8th floor in Forest Hills. We will recognize Women’s History Month with a four-hour celebration, including a brunch, self-care and mindfulness training, as we honor outstanding women and their contributions to the labor movement.

Register now

Recent Guidance and Agreements

Contact the UFT

Chapter Leader Update Feedback

Please let us know what you found most valuable in the current issue of the Chapter Leader Update and how we can improve the newsletter.
Contact Us