SHOWING APPRECIATION: Teachers at PS 65 on Staten Island were greeted with these words in recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day as they arrived for work on May 4.
Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for May 5, 2021
Chapter Leader UpdateChapter Leader Update for May 5, 2021
This Week's Focus
Next Delegate Assembly is on May 12
Preference sheets now available
The DOE has asked principals to start distributing preference sheets for next school year. Each spring, teachers request classroom assignments through the program preference process indicating what they would like to teach in order of priority for the following school year. This process has not changed except with respect to Integrated Co-Teaching classes and SETSS. (See item below in Contract Empowerment section.) Chapter leaders should consult with their principals to ensure a smooth preference-sheet process. All teachers should ask for assignments in their license area; this is especially important for probationary teachers, who could have their tenure delayed if they teach out of license. Although some preference sheets may survey teachers about their interest in cluster or compensatory-time positions, cluster positions require a separate posting and application to the principal and some compensatory-time positions require a school-based option (SBO) vote. Before submitting the preference sheet to the principal, teachers should make a copy of it for their records. If a teacher believes their program assignment violates the UFT contract, the teacher can informally attempt to resolve the issue with the principal. Reorganization grievances will be opening shortly; further guidance will be forthcoming.
3% salary increase in May
The salaries of UFT-represented Department of Education employees will increase by 3% effective May 14. This increase is the final pay increase that the union negotiated on behalf of its members as part of the 2018 DOE-UFT contract. The increase will first be reflected in the May 28 paycheck for pedagogues, H-bank employees and all paraprofessionals. Pedagogues who work per diem or per session will see the 3% pay rate in the June 2 paycheck. The first paychecks that include the raise will also include arrears reflecting the increases back to May 14. The first paychecks that include the raise will also include arrears reflecting the increases back to May 14. Members can log in to the DOE payroll portal as of May 24 to see the first check that reflects their raise.
Additional stipend for chapter leaders in June
Chapter leaders are the backbone of the UFT. You have helped members navigate this challenging school year, reported and resolved safety and operational issues at the school level; and motivated and mobilized members into the powerful force that we are. All chapter leaders received a base stipend in December 2020. As with the prior school, chapter leaders who qualify will receive a second stipend check at the end of June to show our appreciation for participating in union activities and spurring member engagement. You will receive points for having 100% union membership; holding regular chapter meetings and consultation meetings with the principal; attending the Delegate Assembly and district representative meetings; encouraging members to participate in COPE; and having active school-based committees. You will receive an additional payment ranging from $250 to $1,000 based on the number of points you accrued this school year from your leadership efforts.
Show your appreciation for teachers and nurses
It is Teacher Appreciation Week. If you helped organize an activity this week to show appreciation for your school's teachers, please send your best photo (large-size resolution) with caption information, including your school, neighborhood and borough, to email@example.com so we can share it on the UFT's social media platforms. Thursday, May 6, is National Nurses Day, and National School Nurse Day is May 12. Please remember to thank the school nurse at your school.
Next steps in school chapter elections
Next week, we will ask your chapter's election committee chair to post on the UFT bulletin board the names of members running unopposed for union office, those running for any vacant positions and the names of candidates competing for other positions at your school. If you are not running for re-election as chapter leader, you can share this information via email on behalf of your election committee chair. If you are running for another term, please consider sharing your email distribution list of chapter members with your committee chair so the chair can inform the rest of the chapter about who is running for election. About 10 days before each school chapter's election, the American Arbitration Association will mail members the date of the election, the group ID number and the unique PIN number that each member will need to vote. Once this letter arrives, your chapter chair should add the election date to your chapter's Election Notice on the union bulletin board and share the date of the election with members via email if feasible. Two days before the school chapter election, the AAA will send an email with the same information to members in the school chapter who have a working email address on file with the union. Voting by phone will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the day of the election.
Chapter Leader Checklist
- Check in with your election committee chair: By now, your election committee chair should have informed the union about all positions with one candidate, with no candidates or with competing candidates. Please confirm with your election committee chair that this essential task has been completed. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the UFT Election Hotline at 212-331-6310.
- 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 virtual, attending is more convenient than ever. You received your email invitation to the May 12 Delegate Assembly earlier today.
- Next all-member town hall on May 11: Encourage members to register to attend the town hall for in-service DOE-employed members on Tuesday, May 11, the day before the Delegate Assembly. UFT President Michael Mulgrew will discuss end-of-the-year topics, planning for next school year and other pressing issues.
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 SBO process
- Working out Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) options for schools
- Negotiating with City Hall the details of the early retirement incentive
School Chapters on UFT.org
You Should Know
Express interest in ICT and SETSS positions on preference sheet
As outlined in last year's DOE-UFT agreement, Integrated Co-Teaching positions and SETSS positions no longer have to be posted. Special education and general education teachers are allowed to assert a preference to an ICT position on their preference sheets. Special education teachers may also assert a preference to SETSS positions in addition to other special education classes such as ICT and self-contained classes. Both ICT and SETSS position job descriptions should be shared with the staff. Special education teachers should express a preference for program designation and age range/grade level, as shown in sample preference sheets in the DOE guidance.
Health and Safety
Support the Carbon-Free and Healthy Schools campaign
Thanks to an influx of federal funds, we have a unique opportunity to convert all New York City schools to solar energy. This solar initiative would make schools healthier and safer for students and staff and save the city millions of dollars in energy costs. These cost-savings could be reinvested in ongoing maintenance of school buildings and classroom instruction. UFT President Michael Mulgrew is doing what he can to advance this initiative. Listen to him speak on carbon-free schools. Let's demand that federal and local officials take action!
Earn CTLE hours at June 3 DOE forum on digital and tech strategies
UFT members are invited to join the DOE for its forum, Reimagining Learning Reflection and Renewal. This virtual event on Chancellor's Day, Thursday, June 3, will provide a full day of professional learning. Teachers and paraprofessionals earn up to 5.5 hours of CTLE credits for attending. Members will receive relevant training on assistive technology and support-accessible website platforms, how to design accessible digital content, and instructional resources for teaching information fluency and digital literacy transition planning.
Medical and Wellness
Get help navigating the changes caused by this pandemic
Dealing with change is challenging at the best of times, and we've been confronted with continual changes during this pandemic. Please join the UFT's next Let's Talk About It session on transitions hosted by the union's Member Assistance Program. You won't want to miss Krista Rizzo, a certified professional life coach, who will lead this one-hour session on Thursday, May 6, and again on Wednesday, May 19, from 5 to 6 p.m. each day. Members who have attended Krista's past events have left with actionable strategies for navigating transitions in their daily lives.
Bereavement support group
Grieving the loss of a loved one or colleague can be difficult and complicated. You don't have to go through it alone. The UFT's Member Assistance Program organizes small bereavement support groups where UFT members can connect with other members who are also experiencing a loss, whether due to COVID-19 or another cause. The next four-week virtual group session will meet on Tuesdays, from 5 to 6 p.m. on May 11, 18 and 25, and June 1.
Voter registration deadline is May 28
Alert colleagues, parents and eligible students that the deadline to register to vote in the June 22 primary is Friday, May 28. This year, New York City voters may choose among a wide range of candidates for City Council, borough president, city comptroller, (in some cases) district attorney and mayor. Members who have a state Department of Motor Vehicles-issued 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 application must be postmarked by Friday, May 28, and received by the board of elections no later than Wednesday, June 2.
Request your absentee ballot by June 15
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot for the June 22 primary is Tuesday, June 15. As with last year, those affected by COVID-19 or who fear contracting the virus may claim a "temporary illness" and submit an absentee application. In New York City, members can complete an online absentee ballot application or can call 1-866-VOTE-NYC and request an application by mail. Outside the five boroughs, you can call your county's board of elections to request an absentee ballot. Once you receive your ballot, Ballots must be returned and postmarked no later than primary day, June 22.
Help get out the vote for the June 22 primary
Join the union for a virtual workshop sponsored by each UFT borough office to learn more about the union’s endorsed candidates and how we can promote these candidates. This workshop will also serve as an opportunity to learn how to participate in the UFT's virtual phone banking. Members may participate in the borough office where they work or where they live. The virtual workshops will take place as follows: Bronx, on May 10, at 4 p.m; Brooklyn and Staten Island, on May 10, at 5:30 p.m.; Manhattan, on May 18, at 4 p.m.; and Queens, May 18, at 5:30 p.m.
Salary and Personnel
Do not 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 happen to receive a communication of this type that includes a student name, please do not forward that communication. Copy and paste the pertinent information and remove the student's name before sending for further advice.
Review the 2021-22 school calendar
After weeks of pressure, the DOE finally released the 2021-22 school calendar on May 4. The holidays next school year make the calendar particularly challenging — especially with Labor Day falling immediately before Rosh Hashanah. But the final calendar still includes the minimum number of days to meet collective bargaining requirements and receive aid from New York State. It's important to note that as is customary, all school-based staff will report to work without students for two days, on Thursday, Sept. 9, and Friday, Sept. 10. The first day of classes for students is Monday, Sept. 13. Now that the calendar is set, program and school-based options planning can begin.
Tell members to check TEACH account for CTLE status
Don't let your professional certificate lapse! The clock is ticking down on the five-year cycle for teachers and paraprofessionals who registered in 2016 to comply with the 2015 New York State education law that revamped the process for maintaining professional certificates. Make sure affected members check their TEACH account so they know exactly when their five-year cycles end. Everyone has a different date, so it's important that everyone checks. Once the first five-year cycle is completed, members immediately begin a new five-year cycle. Members must collect 100 CTLE hours in each cycle. The UFT has offered a wide range of free and low-cost CTLE-eligible courses this year through the UFT Teacher Center and LearnUFT to help members meet their CTLE requirements. Members with questions can call the UFT at 212-331-6311.
Chapter Leader Communities
Share ideas with fellow chapter leaders in your district and find answers to questions about union rights and benefits.