Wings Academy HS Chapter Leader Matthew Foglino's adept use of the operational issues process not only addressed a paperwork problem for his members but also solved it for hundreds of other teachers at a dozen or more Bronx high schools who were facing the same issue.
"Contractual procedures allow us to address problems head on and solve them quickly," he said.
Foglino and his consultation committee immediately brought an operational issues complaint to their principal after his administration focused a professional development session on Oct. 11, 2019, on the Bronx high school superintendent's new directive requiring teachers to use a multi-page Understand by Design unit plan. Foglino knew the directive violated the DOE-UFT contract, which sets a one-page limit on unit plans.
He thought the matter was settled when the principal assured the consultation committee on Oct. 22 that no teacher would be written up for not using the new format. But, two weeks later, on Election Day, Wings Academy teachers spent the entire day completing page after page of the Understand by Design unit plans.
Foglino, a history teacher who has been his school's chapter leader for five years, described first-year teachers wringing their hands about the time challenge presented by the new unit plans. "They had no idea that the one-page plan was contractual and could not be unilaterally and arbitrarily replaced, but I reassured them the superintendent's directive would be challenged," he said.
UFT Special Representative John Monteforte, who is the district rep for Wings Academy, escalated Foglino's complaint to the district level. At the district meeting, Monteforte said the Bronx high school superintendent repeatedly insisted on the multi-page unit plan before finally conceding that it could not be required. But the practice continued in Bronx high schools in his purview.
The UFT escalated the complaint to the central committee. Following that meeting, the superintendent sent a letter on Jan. 27 to all principals in his district telling them the use of the Understand by Design unit planning template could not be required. "Only the one-page unit planning template agreed to by the UFT and the DOE can be mandated," he wrote.
Science teacher and school delegate Charles Goasdoue said Foglino's success in squashing the multi-page unit plan demonstrated his acumen as chapter leader. "He has an incredible knowledge of the contract and the ability to discuss the issues with teachers and administrators and to resolve issues very effectively," he said.