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Team High School Newsletter - September 2016

News Stories

Welcome back from a well-deserved summer break. We enter classrooms and offices to greet our students and help them sort out the division, violence and suffering extant in our city and country. We have the same questions they do, of course. While this set of circumstances is new, the challenges we face are not. Fortunately for us, the things that will bring us power, opportunity and harmony are the same ingredients that make for great unionism.

We operate at the forefront of public education with the credo that great schools are where everyone respects each other, where shared decision-making and horizontal lines of authority and collaboration are continuously promoted. Great schools involve and advance the people doing the work.

As a union, we know that excellent working and learning conditions and the protection of our profession only happens when we come together and speak with one voice. We meet to determine what we need and discuss how to create a positive school culture, how evaluations will work in each school as a support and development tool, how we communicate and how we will celebrate our successes.

Please reach out to your union; together, we can ensure our professional lives and personal souls are healthy and we are ready to teach, learn and act.

In solidarity,

Janella Hinds, Vice President for Academic High Schools
Sterling Roberson, Vice President for Career and Technical Education

UFT standing in the greater house of labor

LIU lockout

(From left) Brooklyn Tech Chapter Leader Francis Mayle, UFT delegate Adam Stevens and UFT members Robert Hardmond and Gus Trombetta show support last week for the faculty of Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus.

Over Labor Day, the school’s administration locked out 400 faculty members at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus rather than negotiate a fair contract. After 12 days of rallies, demonstrations and advocacy, the LIU Faculty Federation and the administration agreed to extend the expired contract through May 31, 2017. The LIUFF is a sister union to the UFT; both are affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

Prepare for your initial planning conference now

Now is the time to prepare for your initial planning conference (IPC). Remember: The IPC is a one-on-one meeting during a mutually agreed-upon time. This meeting provides an opportunity for each teacher to select his or her observation option, discuss his or her program, express concerns and brainstorm possible solutions for students.

For teachers rated “Developing” or “Ineffective” for the 2015–16 school year, the IPC also serves as a time to focus on the collaborative development of the Teacher Improvement Plan.

For further information on planning the IPC, read this article and download a checklist for planning for an IPC if you teach students with disabilities.

Appeal an “Ineffective” rating

Contact your borough office immediately if you have received an “Ineffective” year-end rating or if you have not received your rating. We have five days from receipt of any individual observation containing errors to file an APPR complaint. To see a list of possible evaluation errors that can be addressed through the APPR appeal process, check out the checklist of materials needed on the UFT website.

Thank you for attending the Labor Day parade

Team HS members at the Labor Day parade on Sept. 10

Janella Hinds (left), the UFT vice president for academic high schools, with Richmond HS Chapter Leader Charles DiBenedetto and retiree Ken Achiron at the Labor Day parade on Sept. 10.

Thank you to those of you who marched with the UFT and thousands of workers from unions across the city on Sept. 10 up Fifth Avenue. The UFT’s Janella Hinds, who is the secretary-treasurer of the NYC Central Labor Council, was among the officers leading the parade. The CLC is the main sponsor of the event, which brings together unionists throughout the metropolitan area to show that NYC remains union proud!

New member information

Are you a new (or relatively new) UFT member? Make sure you have filled out and returned your membership card. Contact the membership department at 212-598-6855.

You may also be interested in these resources:

  1. UFT website for new teachers »

  2. UFT new member handbook »

  3. UFT new member checklist »

  4. Ensure you are assigned a mentor and understand how to keep track of completed mentoring hours.

Free running programs for high school students

NYRR Youth Running

Student runners participant in a race, hosted by the New York Road Runners at Icahn Stadium in 2013.

New York Road Runners announced on Sept. 8 that all NYRR youth running events are now free to all participants. For high school students who would like to jump-start their running careers, NYRR Young Runners offers an after-school program where kids learn to run distances up to four miles while training together as a team.

Young Runners is open to all public school students in grades 3-12 across New York City’s five boroughs. Additionally, if you would like to bring free youth running programs to your school, you can email to learn more and apply.

For more information about the program, see the back to school announcement »

How to teach students to speak truth to power!

Speak truth to power

UFT members from across the city participated in a three-day workshop with Kerry Kennedy (seated center in the above photo) to learn how to teach students about human rights and social justice in effective and engaging ways. Kennedy is the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Contact Team High School at if you would like someone to visit your school to introduce social justice curriculum and a student video and song contest about human rights.

We can help with special education compliance issues

Contact your UFT chapter leader, district representative, borough office or Team High School with questions, concerns and requests for support regarding special education compliance. For more information, visit the Students with Disabilities page on the UFT website.

See the description of the IEP/special education teacher position »  

Workshops for teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve

All members in excess are invited to attend a workshop on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. at 52 Broadway. Participants will explore ways for teachers in the Absent Teachers Reserve to put their best foot forward to obtain a permanent position that maximizes their talents and interests. We’ll review best practices for effective communication, resume writing, interviewing techniques and how to navigate temporary assignments. 

Send $10 check or money order for registration, payable to HS Conferences to:

52 Broadway, 14th floor
New York, NY 10004
Attn: Angel Valentin

UFT Team High School trivia

Which city, according to Forbes magazine last April, boasts the highest average teacher salary? The first 10 people to respond with correct answers will receive a UFT gift. Send your answer to Good luck!

Program problems? Two days to file reorganization grievances

We have two days from receiving any new program to file a reorganization grievance (right to preference). Contact your chapter leader, district rep or borough office with any questions or concerns.