Date: Wednesday, January 25
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: 400 First Ave., 5th floor, Manhattan
In attendance: Helen Kaufman, assistant superintendent; Cecilia Cortez, UFT HES chapter leader; note taker Donna Kafko, Brooklyn West HES-related services teacher and delegate; Janet Palumbo-Katz, Staten Island HES-related service teacher and UFT delegate; Noel Lehrer, Brooklyn East HES-related services teacher and UFT delegate and Natasha Seaton, Manhattan self-contained class teacher.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN JUNE
Ms. Cortez said HES teachers are upset they have to travel to the Bronx for professional development in June. She believes that members need a better location for all attendees.
Ms. Kaufman stated she has no problem with a central location for the professional development meetings in June and November. However, it is difficult to get a free space. She said that the department has not yet found a central space in Manhattan. She also said that since we are a five-borough operation, everyone has to travel. The space we have reserved for the June professional development meeting in the Bronx is good. It is close to public transportation and has free parking.
This professional development meeting takes place only twice in the school year, once in November and once in June. The chapter will ask its members to be on the alert for a free space that can accommodate 250 people for future meetings. Suggestions for a new location are welcome.
Members should advise HES supervisors on meeting topics related to professional development. Ms. Kaufman stated different HES teachers need different things. HES has self-contained teachers and related service providers serving hearing-impaired students in all settings.
Ms. Cortez would like to see a copy of this year’s budget. Ms. Kaufman said she will provide a copy of the budget at the next consultation meeting.
CURRICULUM FOR AUDITORY AND ORAL PROGRAMS
Ms. Cortez stated that some programs do not have the curriculum they need. Some schools require certain curricula that have not been provided. Ms. Kaufman is addressing the problem. She is trying to get the principals of these schools to provide their students with a curriculum.
An HES teacher asked to take a car service/taxi for a long inter-school commute. Some teachers have schools that are more than 40 minutes apart by public transit. Those are rare situations, but they do exist.
Ms. Cortez asked if a provider could travel by car service/taxi once a week to see a student who must be seen at a certain time and who is 40 minutes away or more, depending on train service. She said that it would be only one way, once a week.
Ms. Kaufman said she would consult the payroll department and let us know.
Ms. Cortez informed Ms. Kaufman that some community schools hold IEP meetings after 3 p.m. However, HES providers do not have the same work hours as other staff members. Most HES providers have six hours and 50 minutes. They do not have the extended time.
Ms. Cortez asked whether HES teachers could be paid for the time of the IEP meeting. Ms. Kaufman responded that she would need to know how many providers this affects.
Ms. Kaufman said that the superintendent has told that her that related service providers do not have to attend the IEP meetings. They have to provide a report, write the IEP goals and record the current levels of progress. If the HES providers are unable to attend the IEP meeting, they can speak at the meeting by phone. There is no mandate for related service providers to attend IEP meetings unless they are the caseworker. She said she does not have the money to pay the HES teachers for IEP meetings after 3 p.m.
Per last month’s agenda, Ms. Kaufman will address the issue of “first attend” dates and make-ups. It is difficult for providers to fulfill the time mandate during the first week of school. She said that there is no way that HES providers can do this.
COMPUTERS AT MURROW HS
Ms. Cortez asked for a computer for Murrow HS for the eight HES paraprofessionals to access SESIS. Currently, they do not have computer access to SESIS. Ms. Kaufman said that she will look into it.
MARKING IEP MEETINGS IN SESIS
Ms. Cortez asked how are HES providers to mark IEP meetings for a student in SESIS.
An IEP meeting cannot count as a provision of service. If the HES provider must attend an IEP meeting during a session time, he or she should enter that the session as “cancelled” in SESIS. In the comments section, the HES provider should note that the session was cancelled because the provider has to attend an IEP meeting. In addition, the provider should not mark the student present if they did not provide a service to the student that day.
Audiologists have received complaints from HES providers about the time it takes to receive equipment. Ms. Cortez informed Ms. Kaufman that these complaints have upset some of the audiologists. HES teachers would like to acknowledge that audiologists are doing their jobs very well.
Ms. Kaufman also said by sharing information, we can identify breakdowns in the current system.
Ms. Cortez asked when staff should make up a session.
Ms. Kaufman said HES providers should make up the session when his or her schedule allows it. For example, if you know in advance when a student is going to be absent, you can make up a session. You can also see the child after school and get paid, or invite the student to receive summer services.