Ms. Cortez said that RSA providers have not been paid for their services yet this year. She asked, “Can you find out why RSA providers have not been paid yet?”
Ms. Kaufman replied that there has been a problem in the computer. She will speak to Ms. Atkins, who takes care of that issue. Please let her know if you get your check. Providers have been identified, and a system for payment has been established. All RSA providers will not be paid this week. Payment will be forthcoming, but not next week.
Follow-up: HES providers continue to have space problems in their schools. Ms. Cortez asked if Ms. Kaufman could write a letter to principals about that issue.
Ms. Kaufman replied that she will write the letter. She has spoken to the District 75 superintendent and she will place something in the weekly update. She has no control over community school principals and suggests that Cecilia seek assistance from the UFT to obtain support in non-District 75 schools.
Hearing-impaired students have specific problems related to their disability. More and more HES students are being seen by school counselors and their issues are not addressed. They need counselors trained in deafness who can address those issues. HES counselors also have a wealth of information about deafness that regular counselors do not have. It is important to advocate for our students to have the proper service providers.
We are not negating the knowledge of our HES counselors; however, many of our students have significant enough hearing to speak on a one-to-one or small-group basis to other District 75 or general education counselors. Our counselors areall well-versed in sign language and their caseload should reflect those students who require sign language to communicate. Our counselors can be a resource to any counselor in which the counseling issue is a student’s hearing impairment and not a traditional counseling issue.
Ms. Kaufman replied that if a related service provider (RSP) feels a HES student needs a HES counselor, she should identify the student and tell her HES supervisor. The HES student could then get HES services. Ms. Kaufman said counselors in schools are providing this service. She said school counselors are competent enough to serve our hearing-impaired students. Teachers should always reach out to their supervisors if a problem surfaces with students.
Ms. Cortez asked: Can an RSP schedule lunch and prep together? HES RSPs have asked if they can put lunch and prep together in their schedule. Many times it is very hard to schedule them separately due to the constraints of the students' schedules. There are many classes from which they can't be removed. In some schools, they cannot even be taken out of lunch.
Ms. Kaufman replied that yes, they can do that. She also said lunch cannot be scheduled at the end of the day. If teachers need to do that, they should inform their supervisors of the situation.
Ms. Kaufman has received information that scheduling students is difficult and that often teachers must move student sessions around because they cannot be removed from academic subjects. She does not subscribe to a lunch and prep being placed back to back, but if there is no other way to schedule, she will not prohibit this. Here too, the supervisor should be involved.
Ms. Cortez asked about TRAC and how long it takes to get paid. Some RSPs have not received their money this year at all, which is a two-month delay.
Ms. Kaufman replied that she will look into it. To see how long it takes, she will speak to the HES supervisors at the next supervisors’ meeting and the last person who approves TRAC, Ms. Kolb. She also will speak to the head of operations. She said it should not take that long.
She noted that TRAC does not get paid in one week under the best of circumstances. It also cannot be paid until the supervisor has the time sheet and the TRAC together. Teachers who do not submit in a timely fashion will have their TRAC money delayed.
More time needed to travel
Ms. Cortez asked about the new speed limit, 25 miles per hour. Counselors and all providers need more time to travel from site to site. Now that we have a new speed limit, everyone has to slow down.
Ms. Kaufman replied that she will consult with the HES supervisors to see how many HES RSPs need more time on their daily traveling. She also said everyone should follow the law. Nobody should be speeding. If teachers need more time, they should inform their HES supervisors. The 25-mile-an-hour speed limit was established by the Department of Transportation and the intent is to eliminate traffic accidents. When traveling on city streets, we need to be cognizant of the law. If a teacher or counselor cannot meet the 20-minute travel time mandate, she needs to speak with her supervisor.
The time for our next consultation will be Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 4 p.m.