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Guidance Counselors Newsletter - Spring 2014

It has been a great year for us guidance counselors! We started out the school year with lots of question marks, uncertainty and hope for electing an administration willing to work with us. Our education chancellor, Carmen Fariña, has proven herself a true ally to guidance counselors and other New York City educators.

I am excited to see what’s in store for us in 2014-15.

In the meantime I wish you all a restful summer.


Rosemarie Thompson
Guidance Counselors Chapter Leader

DOE Office of Guidance and School Counseling

We guidance counselors have much to look forward to, including support from the new DOE Office of Guidance and School Counseling, which Chancellor Fariña has established. The office is headed by former guidance counselor Lois Herrera.

One role of the DOE office for guidance counseling will be to work with our chapter’s new professional development committee to ensure that we get professional development that meets our needs.

The Children First Network’s youth development liaisons can also expect extra guidance and support from the new DOE guidance office. The DOE office will be a contact point for elementary, middle and high school as well as special education counselors. Please keep me updated as to how helpful you’re finding this support as the DOE office gets more established.

Good news for counselors in excess!

Chancellor Fariña has stopped rotation for many guidance counselors this school year, putting them back in permanent assignments. We can expect more movement of counselors in excess to permanent school assignments during the 2014-15 school year.

Hiring restriction lifted

The DOE has lifted its hiring restriction on guidance counselors. This will help reduce our caseloads, which will allow more guidance counselors in schools to address our students’ social and emotional issues. In addition, in light of the fact that more counselors are retiring every year, the hiring of new counselors will add to our chapter and keep our voice strong!

Thanks for coming to our 10th annual Guidance Counselors Conference!

We had a very successful 10th annual Guidance Counselors Conference on Saturday, March 15. More than 200 counselors gathered to hone our professional skills, network and celebrate our camaraderie as a chapter.

Our union president Michael Mulgrew stopped by to speak to us, and we honored Bob Astrowsky, a longtime union advocate and guidance counselor.

See photos from the conference »

It was particularly special to enjoy workshops led by our colleagues. We’ll be sure to send out another call for workshop proposals before next year’s conference on Saturday, March 14 so that we can continue to learn from each other.

Guidance counselors’ summit in April

This past April, many of you attended a summit in Albany for guidance counselors and counseling experts in our state. We discussed proposed changes to New York state regulations on professional development requirements for guidance counselors’ certification as well as the role of elementary school guidance counselors.

Thanks to those of you who attended, and I’ll keep you all informed of any state policy changes.

We have a contract!

Thanks to your votes, New York City guidance counselors have ratified a new contract.

In addition to a substantial pay increase, this contract gives us a stronger voice than ever. Working together on our new professional development and paperwork committees, we’ll be able to design more useful and targeted professional development and reduce burdensome and unnecessary paperwork.

The new contract does not change our work hours. Repurposing of time applies to teachers only. However, there is a small change in time allocation for conferences and meetings. In single-session schools, there will be additional parent-teacher conferences in May and September. Guidance counselors are to stay for these meetings instead of attending faculty conferences or departmental meetings. In multi-session schools, counselors should still attend faculty meetings and departmental meetings and have to attend only two parent conferences.

For more information about the new contract, read about it on the UFT website »

28th annual Guidance Counselor Recognition Day

Thanks to those of you who attended our 28th annual Guidance Counselor Recognition Day Awards Ceremony on June 4! Twenty-nine counselors were honored, including Sheila Brown, who was a guidance counselor in Carmen Fariña’s school when the chancellor was serving as a principal. Fariña said Brown served as her right hand and showed her the great work that guidance counselors do.

In addition to the chancellor, UFT President Mulgrew and Bob Astrowsky spoke. It was a fantastic way to celebrate the vital work we counselors do every day for New York City’s children.

See photos from the Guidance Counselor Recognition Day on the UFT website »

Related Topics: Chapter News