Date: Wednesday, Nov. 18
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: 400 First Avenue, 5th floor, Manhattan
In attendance: Helen Kaufman, Assistant Superintendent; Cecilia Cortez, UFT HES Chapter Leader; Janet Palumbo Katz, Staten Island HES related service provider and delegate; Donna Kafko, Brooklyn West HES related services provider and delegate; and Noel Lehrer, Brooklyn East HES related services provider and delegate.
Ms. Cortez asked about the appropriateness of grouping students for sessions despite mandated IEPs.
Ms. Kaufman said that academic, social and physical needs should be the criteria for grouping, and if such criteria are met, then faculty may group students. There are benefits: Sometimes two hearing-impaired students working together develop a friendship. Hearing-impaired students in general education are often lonely. Mandates should be revisited, however because sometimes there can be a three-year difference in academic levels in student groups.
Ms. Cortez told Ms. Kaufman that teachers have been told that to group students whenever possible. The issue is that IEP mandates must be followed. And IEPs can't be changed without the consent of a parent and other professionals.
Ms. Cortez asked about the number of sessions each provider should have; is the goal to see more students? And if so, could this be achieved by grouping students?
Ms. Kaufman responded that if a student has received HES for 12 years, the student has clearly not learned appropriate techniques and strategies to succeed in school; one of the goals is to help students to become independent.
Ms. Cortez responded that many times students continue to do well because they have hearing services.
Mr. Lehrer added that some students require unchanged mandates, and that providing services is a delicate balance involving the number and length of sessions, sessions and number of schools a provider has on his/her schedule.
A discussion followed on the workday: The workday is six hours and 50 minutes and includes lunch, prep travel and time for SESIS. Ms. Cortez explained that some HES staff are expected, by their supervisors, to provide more sessions than can reasonably fit into a day. She said that HES providers in this situation should discuss this with their supervisors and not overload their schedules.
Ms. Cortez submitted a new form to Ms. Kaufman for tracking caseload/schedules. This should reduce the need for multiple forms.
Ms. Kaufman said she will show it to the supervisors at the next meeting for their input and approval.
Every time a student needs an FM or a change in audiogram, we must receive medical clearance. Parents are often confused as to what they need.
Mr. Lehrer asked for a form, which could be given to doctors, for their signatures for educational clearance. No such form is needed because doctors can write medical clearance on a prescription.
Ms. Cortez asked about plans for the June professional development day. HES teachers have two professional days during the school year, in November and June, during which professional consultants with expertise in the field conduct the training. At the monthly meetings, HES with strong skills on a particular topic should be selected to present.
Ms. Kaufman suggested that we speak with our supervisors about the topics we want covered at our PD day. (At our last November PD, we submitted suggestions for future sessions.) Gina Oliva suggested a lecture on the topic, "Alone in the Mainstream" for June.
Ms. Kaufman also told us that NYC is out of compliance in how IEPs are done. New IEP training is taking place at the district level. HES teachers can register for that PD now.
Some HES teachers who are up for tenure have asked, “What are the requirements for tenure?”
At Ms. Cortez’ request, Ms. Kaufman agreed to run a workshop on tenure for HES teachers who are candidates. The workshop will be after school at the district office.
TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT and APPROVAL CERTIFICATION (TRAC)
Ms. Cortez spoke to Lynn Pasquariello, the HES secretary.
Ms. Pasquariello said HES teachers will soon receive TRAC money.
Ms. Kaufman said she will speak to the supervisors about reimbursements, and the topic will be discussed at the next consultation meeting.
Our next consultation meeting is Dec. 9. The 2016 meeting dates are: Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 30, April 20, May 25 and June 22 (if necessary.)