Date: Wednesday, April 26
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: 400 First Ave., 5th floor, Manhattan
In attendance: Helen Kaufman, assistant superintendent, Cecilia Cortez, UFT HES chapter leader, Donna Kafko, Brooklyn West HES/RSP, UFT delegate, and note taker, Noel Lehrer, Brooklyn East HES/RSP and UFT delegate and Natasha Seaton, Manhattan HES self-contained class teacher.
Ms. Cortez asked why Ms. Kaufman asks teachers for the reason they are taking a personal day. Some teachers have complained because they don't feel they should be required to give the reason they want to take a day off.
Ms. Kaufman explained that personal days are for activities that cannot be done after school or on weekends. If someone is ill, they don't have to state their specific illness. They would simply state they have a doctor's appointment. If they are going through a divorce, they can state they have a lawyer's appointment. Ms. Kaufman said she does not require personal details, but she needs to know the general reason for documentation purposes. It is in the contract.
A related service provider came to the meeting to explain her problem obtaining student loan forgiveness as an itinerant. Federal loan forgiveness can be obtained after five years of full time work in a low income (Title I) school district. She has been turned down several times. Ms. Kaufman asked her to send a letter to be signed by Ms. Kaufman stating she worked at one Title I school, including the school name, for each of the five years. HES teachers apply under special education. Ms. Kaufman said that new teachers should apply for the New York loan forgiveness program during their first year of teaching. They will not receive it if they apply after their first year. The loan forgiveness program is up to $24,000. Ms. Kaufman said she will contact some people in the DOE to find out the reason she was denied.
MONEY FROM THE WALK4HEARING
Ms. Cortez asked how the money raised from the Walk4Hearing is being used.
Ms. Kaufman explained the funds are generally rolled over and used the following year because they come in late. They can then be used thoughtfully the following year. Last year, the money was used for speakers.
Ms. Cortez said that teachers have asked for more scholarships for HES students.
Ms. Kaufman said that if you want the money from the Walk4Hearing to go toward scholarships for HES students, you have to tell the Hearing Loss Association of America, which organizes the walk, to keep the money that was raised, because the scholarships for HES students come from them. She said that if the funds go toward their scholarships, the money will not be coming to HES at all.
Ms. Cortez said we should do the same thing we did last year. We asked every borough to vote on how they wanted to use the money that was raised from the walk last year. The teachers voted to spend the money on speakers. We will vote again this year.
In 2015, HES received $1,818. It was spent on speakers in 2016. In 2016, HES received $650. This money has not yet been used. It will be spent next year in 2017. There were fewer HES teachers walking at the hearing walk this year. There were more hearing-impaired students at the walk.
PROCESS TO TERMINATE HEARING SERVICES
Ms. Cortez asked if there is a written procedure to terminate hearing services. There are a variety of reasons why HES students’ hearing services must be terminated, such as them not wanting the services or not coming to the services.
Hearing services are mandated by the IEP. If the IEP says the student needs hearing services, the student receives HES. Otherwise, the schools will be cited for not providing the services.
Ms. Kaufman said that parents may ask for the hearing services to be terminated. HES providers and their supervisor will determine if HES services should be terminated, and it should be well-documented. Students at the high school level are invited to attend their IEP meeting. They can voice their opinion there. It can be done at the annual review.
Ms. Kaufman will investigate the procedure for terminating HES services and provide additional information.
Ms. Cortez asked who is responsible for the HES newsletter.
We have not had a newsletter this year. HES teachers may be interested in contributing to the newsletter.
Ms. Kaufman will find out. The committee recommends that all interested HES teachers participate in the newsletter. HES Supervisors can ask teachers for articles to use in the newsletter at their monthly meetings. She will let us know when the next newsletter is coming out.
Ms. Cortez asked if HES teachers will receive Chromebooks.
Ms. Kaufman confirmed that HES itinerant teachers are getting Chromebooks. If a teacher does not want a computer, he or she can sign a paper indicating that.
Ms. Cortez asked for training on how to use the Chromebooks at the professional development day in June.
Ms. Kaufman said no. She said any training should happen at the monthly meetings.
SPEAKER FOR JUNE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Ms. Kaufman informed us that Dr. Baumann from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who specializes in clinical pathology, audiology and speech therapy, will be teaching speech reading at our June professional development.
She also emphasized that she has seen some fabulous HES teachers who have come up for tenure and who would be great presenters. We have discussed this issue in the past and agreed that they should present at the monthly meetings in their boroughs, not at the professional development day in June.
Ms. Cortez asked if make-up sessions can be completed during the summer.
Ms. Kaufman said that missed sessions can be made up during the summer. The summer provider does not have to be the person who saw the student during the school year. The information is in SESIS and the HES supervisor can run a report to see the missed sessions.
Ms. Cortez asked for the current HES budget.
Ms. Kaufman said the current budget is not official. It will come out during the summer and will be ready for the fall. Purchasing a core curriculum is done for next year.
Ms. Kaufman will reach out to principals of PS 224 in Queens (grades 4–5) and PS 192 in Brooklyn (grades K–2) to arrange for curriculum sharing among HES self-contained programs. She reminded us that HES is a program, not a school, so our budget is not huge. HES cannot buy a whole set of books for a class because our classes are small.
MEETING FOR DISTRICT 75 PRINCIPALS
Ms. Cortez asked Ms. Kaufman if she will attend a UFT meeting for District 75 principals at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. Ms. Kaufman said she will attend if her superintendent asks her to do so.
Ms. Cortez asked if an HES paraprofessional who is finishing school to become a teacher and also needs to do her student teaching could work and do her student teaching at the same time, and get paid in a HES program.
Ms. Kaufman said no. She would have to take a leave of absence to do student teaching. The DOE has a leave application process that allows you to do this.
HES is now serving hearing-impaired Kindergarten students in every borough.