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HES Consultation Committee Meeting Minutes: October 2016

Date: Wednesday, October 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; Janet Palumbo Katz, Staten Island HES-related service teacher and UFT delegate; note taker Donna Kafko, Brooklyn West HES-related services teacher and delegate and Natasha Seaton, Manhattan self-contained class teacher.


Ms. Kaufman asked about the number of concerns in the agenda. She said that these problems should really go to the HES supervisor first. If they cannot be resolved by the supervisor, then they can be brought to Ms. Kaufman. Many problems brought to Ms. Kaufman are not contract violations.

Ms. Cortez explained that many issues are related to having a good working environment. She said that if HES were a school, members would have a principal. Ms. Kaufman is the director of the program and, in effect, the principal of HES. We bring important issues for resolution to her.


Ms. Kaufman followed up on the question from last month about whether every HES self-contained class has a curriculum. She stated that every supervisor said that they have a curriculum. Children at PS 138 in Manhattan who are in the self-contained HES classes are on the school's roster. 

"Go Math" is one curriculum that is incomplete. Self-contained classes at PS 138 do not have the teacher's guides. Guides for grades 1, 2, 3 and 4 grades are needed. Ms. Seaton will send an email describing the missing pieces to Ms. Kaufman. Additionally, Ms. Seaton stated the ELA program being used is not appropriate for HES students.

Ms. Kaufman is going to look into the other Aural Oral programs for curriculum. There are eight AO classes - self-contained classes for deaf students who do not sign. PS 138 has three AO classes. Ms. Kaufman said that purchasing the curriculum needs to be looked at it as a possibility for next year.

Ms. Seaton stated HES teachers there need curriculum maps, at the very least. Ms. Kaufman concurred. She stated that HES programs in the high schools and middle schools are in good shape in terms of curriculum. There are currently eight classes for auditory aural students.


Ms. Cortez asked if Harry S. Truman HS had a counselor for its HES students. Ms. Kaufman informed the committee that a counselor started at Truman HS on Friday, Oct. 21. Truman HES staff said that they need a counselor for two days. The counselor is presently coming one day only. Ms. Kaufman will follow up with Charmaine Brown, the D-75 HES Borough Supervisor for the Bronx. We will review this issue next month.


Ms. Cortez has been told by some HES teachers that Catholic schools are getting computers from the DOE.  She asked why HES providers do not get computers. Ms. Kaufman said she does not have money for computers for everyone. She is sure that Catholic schools do not get computers from the DOE.

A suggestion was made by Ms. Seaton that individual teachers could apply for a simple grant for computers through, a nonprofit organization that allows people to donate to classroom projects. Interested parties should visit and follow directions for a grant.


There were numerous sessions for HES teachers in Manhattan. This question about the number of sessions is from last month.

Ms. Kaufman said that she spoke to the Manhattan HES supervisor and the Manhattan supervisor, who said that the numbers of sessions have ranged from 22 to 33 depending on geographic location. She said that no one has 13 sessions.


Some Manhattan teachers say they are not getting enough equipment or supplies from their audiologists in Manhattan. They lack batteries, microphone clips and all the things they need from audiologists to serve hearing impaired students.

It was suggested that the Manhattan supervisor should provide time at the monthly meetings for audiologists and teachers to meet and see what they need. Ms. Kaufman said she will speak to the Manhattan supervisor.

Ms. Kaufman also said a big order of FMs just arrived. She asserted that orders are not completed right away. This could be a reason for audiologists being unable to provide materials to the teachers.


Ms. Cortez asked if we were going to serve preschool students. Ms. Kaufman said yes, HES will now serve preschool students within the DOE, not students from private schools.


Some HES teachers have said that it is really a hardship to travel to the PD location twice a year. We need to find a better place to have a professional day where HES teachers from all five boroughs come together.

We need a place big enough to house everyone. HES has grown over the years and will continue to grow. For now, the next professional day is at the UFT Brooklyn borough office. We also need to explore different ways to have professional days. Professional days are meant to bring everyone together, since we work every day on our own.


Ms. Kaufman discussed the protocol for HES teachers leaving work early. Ms. Kaufman said HES teachers should call or email their HES supervisor as well as email Carol Goodrich, the HES secretary. Tell Ms. Goodrich when you start work, when you finish work, and how early you are leaving. If you leave early by less than three hours and 20 minutes, you will not lose the day. If you leave early by more than three hours and 20 minutes, you will lose the day.

It is unnecessary to let Ms. Kaufman know if you are leaving early. It is enough to inform your HES supervisor and HES secretary. In addition, Ms. Kaufman reminded us that you must sign into every building you enter.

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