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Team High School Newsletter - December 2015

News Stories

December is always an exciting time in NYC. The Thanksgiving Day parade has heralded the holiday season, and parties, decorations and gift-giving seem to be part of almost everyone’s social calendar as we count down the days to 2016.

We have a lot to celebrate at the UFT as well. Your work in our more than 500 schools continues to make New York proud. We look forward to seeing you during school visits and when you come to the union hall. In the end, we are the only ones who can ensure that our profession, public education and students are the best they can be.

You honor your profession and your union. Happy holidays.


Janella Hinds, vice president for academic high schools
Sterling Roberson, vice president for career and technical education

Know your rights

As unionists, we must stand together in our schools, in the streets and on the steps of government buildings to advocate for the best working and learning conditions. Our profession and the success of public education depend on it.

To do so effectively, however, we must know our rights. Below, we have outlined some of the basics regarding work schedules for our school-based teachers as stated in our collective bargaining agreement. Please use this as a reference for the rest of the school year.

  • The UFT’s contract calls for teachers, in single session schools, to work six hours and 20 minutes, five days a week, with 80 extra minutes dedicated to professional development on Mondays and 75 minutes dedicated to parent engagement and other professional work on Tuesdays. We have a say in how this time is spent. Functional chapter members work a defined time each day exclusive of a duty-free lunch. 
  • Members who work in multi-session schools are required to work six hours and 50 minutes, five days a week. They must attend one faculty conference on the first Monday of each month and a departmental conference the second Monday of each month. Faculty conferences should be designed in consultation with the UFT consultation committee.
  • The UFT has monthly mandated consultation meetings with the principal during which many parts of the contract are discussed. The topics include, but are not limited to, teacher preferences, compensatory time positions, per-session announcements, the school budget, evaluation concerns, coverage rotation and establishing a culture of trust.
  • School-based teachers must also attend four parent-teacher conferences held in September, November, March and May.)
  • Any change to our collective bargaining agreement or school-based option (SBO) must be specific and voted on by a majority of members in each high school.

If you have any questions, please contact your chapter leader, district representative or Team High School.  

PD celebrates ELL students, supporting instruction

Staff from the Bronx School of Law and Finance
Staff from the Bronx School of Law and Finance met to celebrate the work of their ELL students and discuss how to better support ELL instruction.

The Bronx School of Law and Finance held concurrent events recently to support students who are learning English. On Nov. 4, Anna Sanchez and Emmanuel Perez, English as a New Language teachers, celebrated the work of their students.

After the ceremony, educators used the remaining professional development time to discuss ways educators can support English language learners and improve instruction. As high school educators, we’re always looking for new and interesting ways to improve the quality of education we provide to students, especially those who need it most.

Join a new panel for English language learners

We’re looking for volunteers to sit on our new UFT High School Committee on English language learners. Discussions will include the challenges presented by CR Part 154 and how it affects classroom instruction. If you’re interested, please contact Team High School at

Workshop for ELL teachers

The UFT ESL/Bilingual Committee will also be hosting a special workshop for teachers of ELLs on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters. This workshop will help you to understand the recent changes to CR Part 154, which establishes the legal requirements for the education of English language learners.

Register online now »

Principal’s Weekly on mandated services

Chancellor Carmen Fariña wrote in the Nov. 17 Principal’s Weekly:

“You must ensure that you are providing, in full, the special education services (including Special Class, Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT), and Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETTS) that are mandated on each student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).”

Contact the UFT if you have any questions or concerns about the mandated services that your special education and ELL students should receive.

Celebrating ‘Us’

Staff from the High School of Law Enforcement and Public Safety
Chapter Leader Vance Gillenwater (melon-colored shirt) poses with his colleagues after a chapter meeting.

The High School of Law Enforcement and Public Safety held a chapter meeting on Dec. 8. Janella Hinds, UFT vice president, and Washington Sanchez, Queens high school district representative, spoke to members. UFT members are proud of the union’s bulletin board, which currently features a “We Celebrate Us” section with positive notes and kudos to colleagues.

Pump up your curriculum!

New Visions for Public Schools offers a number of tools to help NYC public school teachers prepare a high-quality curriculum for their students. Boost your curriculum in Global History, U.S. History or Living Environment by using the information available here:

See Global History curriculum »

See U.S. History curriculum »

See Living Environment curriculum »

Program preference sheets

Each spring, or each term, you should be given a preference sheet detailing your preferred assignment for the following school year or term. The Principal provides you with a preference sheet that you fill in and return.

For those schools operating on a term/trimester schedule: Faculty should have received their preference sheets by now. This does not apply to members in schools with year-long or annualized schedules, where every UFT member has the same program for the entire year. Professional activity (C6) options should can also be listed on your preference sheet.

If you have any questions, please contact Team High School at

Nominations due for a Team High School Award

Our second annual Team High School Awards Ceremony will be on Friday, April 15, 2016. We honor those who go the extra distance to connect with students, communities and the union.

Please take a few minutes to nominate a colleague, community member or your school for the UFT Academic High School Awards. The deadline to submit your nomination has been extended to Friday, Dec. 18.

Make a nomination now »

Read descriptions of each award category »

For more information, contact Angel Valentin at

Seeking outstanding CTE teachers

Help us shine a spotlight on the great work our CTE teachers do! Please take a moment to nominate a colleague for an Outstanding Career and Technical Education Award. The winners will be honored at our upcoming CTE Awards Ceremony on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway. The deadline to submit your nomination is Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Make a nomination now »

For more information, contact Elizabeth Cardona-Diaz at 212-598-9290.

Congratulations to CTE teacher Alex Bell!

We’re proud to report that Alex Bell, a CTE teacher at Thomas Edison High School, Queens, has been named the Teacher of the Year by the Association for Career and Technical Education/ Region I. Here's to you, Alex!

All of the lights - Election PD done right

Social Studies teachers from high schools across the city gathered on Nov. 3 at the Museum of the Native American to learn how to use student diversity and multiple perspectives as a teaching resource. The UFT Association of Teachers of Social Studies organized the training.

Bronx unionists exercise freedom of assembly

Bronx HS chapter leaders

Over 75 chapter leaders and high school activists gathered on Nov. 5 in the Bronx to educate and empower themselves and their school communities. Renewal, increasing unionism and trust at the school level and education issues were discussed.

Teacher evaluation tools to support us

Download this evaluation tool, created by Brooklyn Chapter Leader James Cochran, to ensure that you are having a positive conversation around your teaching practices. You use the tool right after a formal or informal observation to make sure that your observation is followed by a professional discussion led by you, the educator. This will better ensure a fair evaluation as recommended by the “descriptors of performance, planning and preparation” from Danielson. It also will ensure that the administration provides you with resources and actionable support.

Big Apple Awards

The Big Apple Awards honor teachers who inspire students and enrich their school communities. Students, families, educators, and community members can nominate a teacher by visiting the Big Apple Awards website. The deadline is Jan. 18, 2016.

Nominees must be current, full-time public school teachers who have a positive impact on student learning, demonstrate excellence in teaching practices, and successfully contribute in a professional way to their school communities.

See last year’s winners here »

Your team is on Twitter

Follow @UFTTeamHS on Twitter.