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HES Consultation Committee Meeting Minutes: September 2016

Date: Wednesday, September 30

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; Noel Lehrer, Brooklyn East HES-related services teacher and UFT delegate and Natasha Seaton, Manhattan self-contained class teacher.


Ms. Cortez asked Ms. Kaufman to clarify the policy on absences for religious holidays.

Ms. Kaufman stressed that days off have to be requested in advance. Teachers can email Ms. Kaufman for approval to take off a religious day. An OP 201 application must also be completed. There are Chancellor’s regulations on religious observances which are more applicable to community schools than HES. Schools have a right to say no if the absence is a hardship for them. Ms. Kaufman generally doesn't refuse these requests.

No one was given the Catholic religious holiday which occurred on the last day of Chapter 683 (summer school). They were instead given an accommodation to attend service. You also have to pay the cost of the substitute teacher, $150, even though we don't use substitutes for HES related service providers. The payment is required as part of the contract.


Ms. Cortez stated that most of the self-contained classroom teachers do not have a curriculum for their students, but they do have textbooks.

Ms. Kaufman said she will talk to supervisors to find out which schools are lacking. Sometimes a curriculum is supplied by the school whose students are on the roster. Community schools receive money for housing our HES classes in their schools. There are 15 HES self-contained sites throughout the five boroughs. Ms. Kaufman will talk to supervisors to ascertain what is needed. They will discuss how to provide the self-contained classes with a curriculum.


Manhattan teachers have told Ms. Cortez that some teachers have a lighter amount of sessions. Some teachers have 13 sessions and others have more than 30 sessions.

Ms. Kaufman said she will review Manhattan schedules to make sure that everyone has an even and fair number of sessions. Caseloads must also be checked to make sure that the number of sessions is correct. She will verify the number of sessions with the Manhattan supervisor.


Ms. Cortez has been informed that no student in Truman HS is currently receiving counseling.

Ms. Kaufman will look into this situation and try to understand why students are not receiving counseling. HES has 4 counselors to serve our HES students throughout the city. She said our HES counselors are mainly for students who need sign language. She will check with the Bronx supervisor.


Ms. Cortez has been informed that HES teachers would like to decide how the money from the walk is spent.

In the past, money raised from the Walk4Hearing has been used for RS provider/student needs. Since HES is a program, not a school, allocations are different for our funding. HES pays for per session, the transition, fair speakers, etc.

Last year, the Walk raised $1,800, which was carried over to this year. This year, the money is being allocated for staff development on the PD in November. Some teachers feel it shouldn't be spent on staff development. They feel that the Walk4Hearing money should be reserved for the students. Ms. Kaufman said a speaker for Related Service Providers will be coming on Election Day, which will be paid for by proceedings from the walk. D75 does not pay for speakers. D75 offers professional development through workshops.

Ms. Kaufman suggested that HES teachers and supervisors discuss this issue at their monthly meetings to clarify how the $1,800 should be used. Using this money to train the HES teachers will ultimately be an investment in student success. We will hear the results of how this money is being used during our monthly meetings.


Our present self-contained classroom teacher at 721K is out for 12 weeks. There is no teacher of the Deaf there now; there is only a regular substitute teacher.

Ms. Cortez asked if a DHH licensed teacher is going to be placed there.

Ms. Kaufman feels that these students can be served through HES related services and could possibly be in a class for students with intellectual disability. She said she is not going to put a DHH teacher there. She does not have a DHH licensed teacher for that class. The chapter will investigate if this is a compliance issue and press for prompt resolution if it is. 


Ms. Cortez said that HES Teachers have complained that they still have no access to computer technology. The Chancellor has said that everyone must have computer access at all schools.

Ms. Kaufman wants the names of those schools that do not provide computers to HES teachers. If HES teachers are having difficulty getting computers, she must know which schools are having a problem so that she can rectify the situation. Not all the schools are the same. Some schools are very helpful and give everything to the HES teachers. It is time to identify the schools that do not support HES teachers. Let your HES supervisor know that not having computers to do SESIS is a critical issue.


Ms. Cortez asked if we could use other email services besides the DOE, such as Google, which includes Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive. These functions would allow teachers to share lessons and other information about their students with other schools, including charter and private schools.

Ms. Kaufman stated that we are permitted to use any email (not necessarily DOE email) to reach both charter schools and private schools.

Ms. Kaufman reiterated that there is no money for staff laptops at this time.


Mr. Lehrer informed us that some of the younger teachers are having problems with loan reductions because D75 is not on a Title 1 designation list. He will supply the names of the teachers experiencing difficulty so that Ms. Kaufman may help.

Ms. Kaufman said that she always signs the necessary paperwork to help all HES teachers with their loans.

Related Topics: Chapter News