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Kudos to Lucas Rule, Pathways College Preparatory School, Queens

For using the new contract to resolve a workplace issue
New York Teacher

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Lucas Rule
Chapter Leader Lucas Rule knows he is fortunate to have a collaborative working relationship with his principal at Pathways College Preparatory School, a grades 6–12 school in St. Albans, Queens. But when one of his members struggled to resolve a workload issue with an assistant principal, Rule didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the new provision in the DOE-UFT contract that helps chapter leaders address violations of systemwide standards governing workplace issues.

“Even when there’s a collaborative atmosphere, you sometimes need that extra push to make sure people do things,” he said. “I was amazed at how fast it moved along.”

In February, just as the new DOE-UFT contract was taking effect, a school counselor approached Rule about an assistant principal who was making unreasonable demands of her time during the school’s assessment periods.

“This particular assistant principal didn’t have anything organized, didn’t have a team in place and didn’t understand the role of a counselor, so she was having her act as a gofer — stuffing envelopes and scanning papers and acting in the role of a testing coordinator,” Rule explained.

Rule, who uses a handbook that spells out clear guidelines for assessment periods in his role as the high school testing coordinator, asked his principal to direct the AP to create a similar handbook for the middle school.

Because he knew that the DOE and the UFT in February 2018 drafted a set of systemwide standards pertaining to operational issues — including the workload of functional chapter members like school counselors — he also filed a report with the UFT.

When five days passed without a resolution, his UFT district representative escalated his report to the superintendent, who then got in contact with the principal “within two hours,” Rule recalled. The principal quickly agreed in writing to Rule’s request.

“Lucas is the kind of chapter leader who works well both with us as members and the administration,” said Anna Joe, a teacher at Pathways. “He advises us and will fight for members to make sure we get what we’re allotted in the contract.”

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