Date: Wednesday, Oct. 15
Time: 4–5 p.m.
Location: 400 1st Avenue, 5th floor
In attendance: Helen Kaufman, assistant superintendent; Cecilia Cortez, UFT HES chapter leader; Donna Kafko, Brooklyn HES related services teacher; Janet Katz, Staten Island HES related services teacher; Ellen Levine, Bronx HES related services teacher
Ms. Cortez asked about approval of TRAC. Ms. Kaufman replied that all TRAC travel expenses will be paid. It requires three people to approve TRAC: one to match it, one to input it and one to approve it. Therefore, it requires some time and must be done at an appropriate time. HES is always working with a budget. It is very difficult to come up with money for TRAC after six months. You have the time to do TRAC now.
Ms. Cortez asked about personal days for those who don't want to share personal information. Some teachers have asked for personal days but don't want to specify doctor information. Can they say that they have an appointment without a doctor's note?
Ms. Kaufman said that personal days are granted for things that can't be done after school or on the weekend. Documentation must be provided if needed. You have to give a reason and it must be approved. Personal days must be requested two weeks in advance.
Ms. Cortez asked about police reports for lost equipment. Who is responsible for reporting lost equipment to the police?
Ms. Kaufman replied It can be the HES teacher or audiologist. Usually the HES teacher knows about the loss first. The HES teacher should report it. It often requires the HES teachers to cancel sessions for going to the police station and to do police paperwork. HES has to provide documentation of loss for city auditing. The report needs to be completed for insurance purpose. HES gets audited once a year. There has to be an explanation and documentation as to why they are buying FM equipment for the same student.
Professional days for self-contained classes
Ms. Cortez asked if there would be professional days for self-contained classroom teachers. HES teachers have complained about training in their community schools.
Ms. Kaufman stated that the expectation is that what is taught in the self-contained classroom is what all teachers are doing in that school. These hearing-impaired children are on the school roster. School professional development applies to our HES self-contained classes as well. Our hearing-impaired students have to pass the same tests that all the students have to pass. Additionally, HES will provide three staff development days for self-contained teachers: Election Day, Brooklyn-Queens Day and one in February for self-contained teachers only.
Ms. Cortez asked about HES counselors with sign language. There has been a complaint that new counselors aren't well versed in sign language.
Ms. Kaufman replied that we try to send signing counselors to signing children. Most of our hearing-impaired students are not students who need sign language. They are oral students. If our students can also be served by the school counselors, those counselors should serve them. HES serves as many students as we can. Ms. Kaufman will arrange for a meeting with the counselors. There won't be new counselors hired at this time.
Ms. Cortez asked about per session for HES teachers. Will HES teachers who work during prep be paid?
Ms. Kaufman will ask the HES supervisors who is working during their prep time. The Bronx and Queens have expressed concern about this issue. She knows there are vacancies in the Bronx and Queens and a maternity leave in Brooklyn. If anyone is working during their prep time please inform your HES supervisor you are working during your prep even if it is a temporary thing. Your schedule should reflect you are working during your prep and you will get paid. Just do the paperwork.
Last week's followup question
Ms. Cortez asked: Was any followup done to help our HES providers obtain space in the community schools?
Ms. Kaufman said the schools are very overcrowded. She is still working on this. She will send an email to someone she knows about putting an announcement in the Principals' Weekly.
Ms. Cortez asked about RSAs for our students.
HES providers who are in the RSA list have not received any requests for RSA mandates.
Ms. Kaufman replied that there are few agencies that can provide service during the school day. Our retirees can provide them during the day. Our full time HES employees provide the services after work. Ms. Kaufman will check with Maria Leo about RSA status. She will find out why nobody has received a request for the RSA services.
A date for the next meeting has not been set.