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HES Consultation Committee Meeting Minutes: Sept. 2015

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 30

Time: 4-5 p.m.
Location: 40 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 Lear, Brooklyn East HES related services provider and delegate.


Ms. Cortez explained that issues resolved in the past have been coming up again. Ms. Cortez asked about some issues which were resolved last year, such as scheduling and parent-teacher conferences.

Last year, it was resolved that it was acceptable to have prep time and lunch together. There is no need to revisit that issue again.

Ms. Cortez inquired about the number of parent-teacher conferences that HES teachers must attend this year.

Ms. Kaufman responded by explaining that if you work in community schools that have an extended day, you should go to the four conferences at night. If you work in District 75 schools, you should only go to two conferences. If you work in a combination of schools, such as a District 75 and community school, you should attend three conferences.
Ms. Cortez explained to Ms. Kaufman that she spoke to UFT District 75 Representative Analia Gerard about this issue. She told me that if a school or program doesn't have a SBO, the UFT member should adhere to the old contract rule. We didn't have an SBO. We didn't do any changes to our program. We worked for 6 hours 50 minutes. 

Below is Ms. Gerard’s solution to the parent-teacher conference from last year. As Ms. Gerard wrote then:

Here is the summary of our discussion from Sept. 11, 2014. Helen has already been provided with the entire original email on Sept. 16, 2015 and followed up by saying she would take it up with you.

"I [Ms. Gerard] just completed a phone conference with Superintendent Gary Hecht and Barbara Joseph, the deputy superintendent in which the matter of PTC for itinerant D75 members and self-contained members was discussed.”

It was resolved that:

“Members that service students in self-contained classrooms, where the students are on the register of that school, will follow the schedule of that school. Therefore, if the school has a reconfigured schedule, they will stay late on Monday and Tuesday and attend the four parent-teacher conferences as do their colleagues at that school.

Itinerant members that travel to service students in various school organizations will follow the 6-hour and 50-minute schedule daily, as they have always done, and will attend the parent-teacher conferences as they have done in the past (only two, not the extra evening conferences).

Helen Kaufman has been informed and is in agreement.”

Paperwork and caseload documentation

Ms. Cortez asked about extra paperwork, caseload issues and schedules. The same information can be found in both documents: caseload and schedule. There is no need to have both documents. They both can be consolidated into one document by adding a couple of columns. Samples of the documents were provided at the meeting.

Ms. Kaufman said she will discuss consolidation of forms with the HES supervisors and inform us of the result.

Hearing Education Services handbook

Ms. Cortez asked about a statement presented the first day of school in the HES handbook given to  the teachers.

It said the following: “SESIS Encounter will be checked on a regular basis. If your Encounters are not up to date, you will automatically receive a letter to your file. This is your first and last reminder of this professional obligation.”

The contract guaranties that every UFT member be given due process. If a letter is going to be given to a member, the member must be informed. No one automatically receives a letter in their file for any reason. If a teacher is not doing SESIS, they must be called in and informed that they may get a letter in their file.  

Ms. Kaufman said SESIS is a contractual obligation that each teacher must fulfill. She said you won't automatically get a letter in your file. If you are not doing SESIS, you will get a letter asking to come to a disciplinary meeting where your situation will be discussed. You will get due process. If a letter is going to go in your file, you will be informed before that occurs.

Ms. Cortez requested that Ms. Kaufman’s statement clarifying this concern be rewritten and resent to HES teachers.


Ms. Cortez asked about RSAs serving private schools in Manhattan.

Ms. Kaufman said there are not enough teachers of the deaf who work for the DOE to serve those schools during the regular workday. She said our priorities are with public school students. There is nothing she can do about that.

Parking problems and SESIS

Ms. Cortez asked what teachers should write on SESIS notes if they can't find parking due to the fact they have no parking permits.

Ms. Kaufman said it is not acceptable to write that parking couldn’t be found in the SESIS notes. If teachers write this or are absent for sessions with students due to parking, their travel may be monitored.  She didn't say what you should write. 

Professional development

Ms. Cortez said that teachers would like to be involved in the development of a proper professional development agenda for November and June.

Ms. Cortez suggested that the HES supervisors ask the teachers for input for appropriate professional development for June at their monthly meeting.

Ms. Kaufman answered that there was a needs assessment done last June. Ms. Kaufman said another needs assessment could be done during the monthly meetings this year so that the June PD agenda could be developed by the teachers. The November professional development has already been planned. 

Ms. Kaufman will speak to the supervisors about that.

Service card signatures

Ms. Cortez stated that HES teachers traditionally have not asked for service card signatures for the first month of school, September. It is very hard to get signatures within the first month, particularly when you may go to a school once and not go back again.

Ms. Kaufman said it is for the teachers’ own protection to get those signatures. Teachers should also include schools visited once and sites visited for equipment pickup or drop-off. These irregular sites do not require a signature but should be noted on their service card.  

Ms. Cortez asked who is in charge of Turning 5 equipment.  

Ms. Kaufman said HES is in charge of FM equipment once children are of school age. HES Teachers should contact their audiologist and let them know there are new students turning 5 who need to be served.

Weather and Hurricane Joaquin

Ms. Kaufman said she will not ask anyone to travel who doesn’t feel it is safe to do so. If schools are open, the assumption is that you can get to your first school and get an idea of the weather conditions. You may be able to stay at your first school if need warrants.

Ms. Kaufman said this is not a sick day. She said if the weather is so bad that you cannot travel you may contact your supervisor or email her. It should not be done capriciously. It would never be considered as a sick day. It would be a personal day. Personal days generally should be requested a week in advance, however extenuating circumstances would be considered.

No date was set for the next meeting.

Related Topics: Chapter News