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Team High School Newsletter May 2014

Finally...A Contract for Educators and Education

The proposed collective-bargaining agreement signals a rebirth for the nation’s largest public school system by promoting educational common sense, freedom, flexibility and innovation. We urge you to vote YES on this contract!

Detailed information, including the complete Memorandum of Agreement, is available in the special Contract 2014 section of the UFT website. As always, contact Team High School with your questions or concerns. Below are all the reasons why you should support this strong contract for our high schools. 

In Solidarity,

Janella Hinds, Vice President for Academic High Schools
Sterling Roberson, Vice President for Career and Technical Education High Schools
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Compensation
Our agreement includes an 18 percent rate increase (10 percent retroactive and 8 percent future increases) over the life of the contract, with zero givebacks. All members on payroll will receive a $1,000 signing bonus upon contract ratification and a 1 percent raise retroactive to May 1, 2013 and an additional 1 percent raise retroactive to May 1, 2014, which will appear in our paychecks this fall. Members will be made 100-percent whole by 2020 as long as they remain in service or retire. The phase-in of the two 4-percent retroactive raises simply means members will continue to accumulate retro through May 2018, when the final 2 percent retroactive raise kicks in.

Evaluation
We have negotiated an evaluation system that increases fairness and supports teacher development. Classroom evaluation will now focus on eight instead of 22 components of the Danielson Framework. Teachers of nontested subjects will have the opportunity to be evaluated on the test results only of students they teach and the DOE has committed to creating assessments for courses for which there are not exams. There are also added protections for any teachers who are rated Ineffective as a result of being evaluated based on group measures or the performance of students in subjects they do no teach. Our agreement requires administrators to give feedback on observations within 15 days, and observation reports within 45 days – shorter timelines so teachers can use that feedback to improve their practice. As always, tenure is protected under state law and is not changed by this collective-bargaining agreement.

Staff in Excess (ATRs)
We have negotiated a pathway to get more excessed staff back into classrooms, working with students and colleagues in all of our schools. Staff in excess may be sent for interviews at schools in their districts and boroughs where there are vacancies in their license area. If selected, their salaries will not count towards the school’s average salary, allowing schools to make hiring decisions based on competence instead of cost. Staff in excess retain due process rights and regain the opportunity to fully contribute to our schools by educating and supporting students.

Health Care, Pension and other Benefits
In addition to negotiating well-deserved retroactive and future pay raises, our pension and health care benefits have been protected. The Municipal Labor Committee, which represents over 152 labor unions and 350,000 municipal workers, has agreed to a health care savings program that will reduce costs by delivering health care more efficiently and streamlining the administration of benefits. Most importantly, members will have the same co-pays, no premiums and access to the same doctors. Additionally, staff now can use three, instead of the current two, sick days to care for a sick family member. Those days come out of your 10 self-treated days each year. And now, no educator will be disciplined or adversely rated or have any derogatory material placed in their file for taking an unpaid leave for restoration of health or a paid sabbatical leave for restoration of health for any amount of time.

Teacher Leadership Positions
New career ladder positions have been created for teachers interested in supporting their schools in new and interesting ways. These newly created positions will allow teachers who apply and are accepted to take on additional responsibilities and receive a stipend to support that work (very different from so-called “merit pay,” which awards individual teachers bonuses for performance, usually based on test scores). These three new positions create an opportunity for interested and qualified educators to be compensated for providing collegial support to our colleagues. A central UFT/DOE committee made up of an equal number of representatives from the union and the DOE will select the pool of candidates.

Repurposed Workday
The new contract reconfigures the workday in a manner that recognizes the many responsibilities of high school educators. Time in single-session high schools will now be allocated for professional development, parent engagement and professional work each week and two additional parent-teacher conferences each year by repurposing the 37.5 minutes and the time now set aside for mandatory faculty and departmental conferences. High schools that are multisession or in Districts 79 or 75 can maintain their current workday schedules. As always, SBOs may be conducted to reconfigure the workday. Not a single minute has been added to our workdays.

Paperwork Reduction
This agreement addresses the burdensome and unnecessary paperwork that has detracted from real learning and teaching in our high schools. A joint UFT/DOE paperwork committee will be established to create system-wide standards for the reduction and elimination of unnecessary paperwork (both written and electronic) and a new grievance procedure will address violations.

Paraprofessionals
This agreement provides for increased voice and engagement of paraprofessionals. As a pilot next year, the Paraprofessional Chapter will have a citywide Staff Development Committee to design training programs that are relevant to paraprofessionals. With the repurposed time in the workday, paraprofessionals and teachers will have opportunities to plan and collaborate during the school day, engage with parents and perform other professional work.

Collaboration
PROSE schools provide an opportunity for staff in schools with a track record of collaboration to have greater voice and participation in decision making in their schools. If a joint UFT/DOE committee approves their applications, school communities may implement programs that will allow for educational innovation to thrive within a unionized school.