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Important new information for speech teachers on paperwork and electronic work

From Mindy Bornemann, Speech Chapter Leader:

I worked over the summer to make sure our issues related to paper and computer work were considered by the joint DOE-UFT committee that is working to develop citywide paperwork reduction standards. The UFT identified a number of ways to reduce the time spent on SESIS. The union also pressed for standards in the area of progress reports and questioned the need for members to provide a variety of other information that is already available in SESIS. We emphasized that members need to have an appropriate amount of time during the workday to properly and professionally complete their SESIS activities. I suggest you read the entire agreement.

The agreement provides initial paperwork reduction standards to school educators and related service providers. It states that "employees (including those in functional chapters) who believe that they have been assigned unnecessary paperwork should first seek to resolve their concerns at the school level. If issues are not resolved at the school level, employees may request that their Chapter Leaders raise school-specific issues (whether paperwork or electronic) before their respective District Committees."

The agreement also states that "the DOE will continue to engage UFT to prioritize how to streamline and enhance SESIS functionality to increase usability. The system enhancements will commence on a rolling basis as identified."

While we had hoped that the DOE would move quickly to pre-slug information that does not change in encounter attendance — making simple programming changes that would remove dozens of unnecessary "clicks" — that has not happened so far.

Additionally, the agreement provides that "each school or program shall continue to engage with all users of SESIS to provide adequate time and computer access to complete SESIS-related tasks." The agreement also addresses data systems, printing documents and attendance issues.

I am keenly aware that time to perform SESIS activities remains our most pressing challenge. I strongly recommend that you speak directly to your principal or communicate with him or her via email as soon as possible to ask for time to complete daily SESIS encounter attendance, caseload management and other required activities. Before going to your principal, consider your options. Is it possible to configure your caseload so that you have time in your workday or work week to do SESIS work? If so, show your principal how this can be accomplished while satisfying all IEP mandates. For those of you in the middle and high schools, you may suggest using administrative periods. Your prep time should be for preparation of lessons and materials.

Speech teachers are reminded to do SESIS work during the school day with the exception of lunch which should be duty-free. You should not be doing this work before or after your paid workday. Before calling the hotline number with issues related to SESIS please make sure that you speak to your principal and speech supervisor to ensure that they know your specific needs for time at your school.


I'm happy to let you know that the UFT's efforts to ensure you have time for SESIS work under the new contract have paid off.

We have worked very hard to make sure your rights are protected. As a result, the Department of Education has agreed that speech teachers in single-session schools can do SESIS work during the 155 minutes allocated each week for professional development, parent engagement and Other Professional Work.

This information went out from the DOE to all principals in the Principal's Weekly dated Sept. 15. Please make sure your principal is aware of this and refer him to the Principal's Weekly.

I'm copying below exactly what appears in the Principal's Weekly so you'll have it to show your principal.

If you do not get adequate time to do daily SESIS encounter attendance, please first contact your speech supervisor. If that does not resolve the problem, please call the speech hotline at 1-212-598-7774.

If you have any other questions or concerns on this issue, please let us know by calling the hotline.


From Principal's Weekly, Sept. 15, 2014

Arbitration Decision Regarding SESIS

In light of the arbitration decision regarding the use of SESIS, please remind DOE related-services providers and other DOE staff that while they must continue to enter their information in SESIS they may not do so outside of their regular work hours, or during their lunch break, without prior approval from their supervisor.

In order to ensure that all UFT-represented staff have sufficient time during the work day to perform SESIS-related work (i.e. entering information on a student’s IEP, Encounter Attendance, etc.), for the 2014-15 school year only, you should provide such employees with the time or guidance set forth below:

UFT Title
Time for SESIS
UFT Speech Teachers

Speech teachers shall be given the time allocated for Professional Development, Parent Engagement and Other Professional Work (i.e. 155 minutes per week) or equivalent amount of time if the school has an alternative configuration.  This is in addition to daily preparation periods.

Speech teachers in multi-session schools shall be assigned to the Student Assessment Activities menu option as their daily professional activity (Circular 6) assignment, or provided with an equivalent amount of time during the workday, for SESIS-related work.