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School Counselors Chapter Newsletter - September 2023

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Welcome back! I hope you had a restful summer and that the first month of the school year has been going successfully for you.

I would like to extend a special welcome to new school counselors. Greetings and congratulations on joining one of the most dedicated chapters of the UFT! If you previously worked in another title, such as a paraprofessional or secretary, congratulations on advancing to the next stage of your career. Your experience will serve you well in your new role.

I’ve included some relevant information below that should be helpful to you throughout the school year. These are good reminders for new and returning members alike.

As school counselors, we help create supportive learning environments that position our students for future success. We should all be proud of the contributions we make to the lives of children in our schools. I look forward to seeing current members again and welcoming new colleagues.

In solidarity,

Rosemarie Thompson

Implementing 55 minutes for remote work

Our new contract offers more autonomy to decide when to do administrative work and paperwork. The most important addition for school counselors is the ability to work remotely for up to 55 minutes per week to conduct this.

We have always created our schedules with supervisory approval, and this is now codified. A supervisor can make suggestions, but cannot create our schedules without our input.

This applies to all school counselors, regardless of work setting, although it may vary for counselors working in Districts 75 or 79. If you work in a school counselor assigned role and already have the option to work remotely, this may not apply to you.

Here are some important features to note about this new provision.

  • These minutes are not additional but are part of our workday. We continue to work six and a half hours, five days a week, exclusive of lunch.
  • You may break the 55 minutes up throughout the week or do them all in one day.
  • Once you decide when you will use the 55 minutes, it should remain the same for the entire school year.
  • Related service providers are not required to complete a worklog for work that is conducted remotely. Staff schedules should indicate when employees are working remotely, and schedules are subject to approval by school supervisors. School supervisors should continue to review assignments, evaluate the completion of duties and responsibilities and discuss the completion of remote administrative work. As a best practice, supervisors should discuss any concerns regarding remote work with the employee, and, if the concerns are unresolved, consider revoking the ability to work remotely.
  • If you work with multiple counselors or other related service providers, please work with one another when scheduling your 55-minute windows to avoid conflicts. Do this early so students and staff know when you're unavailable. Schedules should first be discussed on a departmental level, and then shown to a supervisor if necessary.
  • Travel time is not included in these 55 minutes.
  • Alternatively, you do not have to use the 55 minutes at all.

Everything else remains the same. Please email me if you have any questions.

If you have already submitted your schedule, you can discuss any revisions, including adding the 55 minutes to your schedule, with your building chapter leader.

If you work in a school counselor assigned position and have questions, please email both me and UFT Teachers Assigned Chapter Leader Naomi Rodriguez at


Guidance on repurposed time and counselor hours

Please review the current guidance on repurposed time and hours for school counselors. You can make sure that you are working your contractual time based on your school’s lunch period. If you work in a single-session school, you can review the times that school counselors are required to work for the four annual parent-teacher conferences.

I advise you to reach out to your supervisor and building chapter leader so they’re aware of this rule.


Child abuse and neglect prevention training dates

If you are the designated liaison for your school's Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Team as indicated in the Consolidated Youth Development Plan, you're required to attend virtual training by Friday, Oct. 20. You must attend the full six-hour session to meet compliance (days may not be split). All sessions will have a 15-minute break and a 45-minute lunch break.

Please view the schedule and pre-register. Locate your district's indicated session date on the table and register for the date on NYCENET.


Student Services Managers for the 2023–24 school year

Please review this list of student services managers for the 2023–24 school year. Please note that multiple superintendents may have the same student services manager.

You can reach out to them should you ever need guidance, but bear in mind that these are not supervisors. Your supervisor is typically a building leader or an assistant principal assigned to your school's counselor department.



If a student is given an in-school suspension, a teacher must be present to observe the room and teach lessons. School counselors should not be asked to cover these rooms. Please email me if you have been asked to observe in-school suspensions.


2023–24 DOE calendar

Please review the 2023–24 DOE calendar if you haven't already done so.


20th annual UFT School Counselors Conference

Our annual conference, now in its twentieth year, is a great opportunity to network with colleagues, listen to guest speakers and develop your skills as school counselors. Please take advantage of this exciting opportunity to participate. I will email members when registration opens, but please save the date.

Related Topics: Chapter News