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Occupational and Physical Therapists Chapter Newsletter: December 2015

With the holidays upon us, I hope you can take some satisfaction from a job well done these past months. We are now looking ahead to a well-deserved winter break. As this year comes to a close, I want to provide you with some chapter updates and important reminders.

As your chapter leader, I want to hear from you – you are my eyes and ears as to what’s taking place in your schools. If you have any concerns or ideas, please email me at Please send emails to this address only. And please include your full name and your school. You may also reach out to our chapter’s executive board members, as they, too, often have the answers to your questions. (You’ll find their emails at the bottom of this newsletter.)

If you have not already done so, I urge you to sign up on the website for our eblasts and other timely information from the union. Signing up just takes a minute. Please let your colleagues know about this as well. We want to reach everyone in the chapter!

Sign up on »

We work hard in our schools, with some of us visiting up to seven schools per week to serve dozens of students. Your dedication and commitment is greatly appreciated. I hope to see many of you at our upcoming chapter meetings in the new year.

Thank you for all of your hard work.

Happy holidays!


Kerri Evangelista
OT/PT Chapter Leader

Talking about the issues

During our monthly consultation with Suzanne Sanchez, we discussed a number of topics including new hires, professional development, sick day procedures, senior status, stipends and other issues.

I also called attention to a number of staff concerns including issues with supervisors requesting more information on continuing education courses and the maximum number of sessions therapists are asked to complete. I will continue to advocate for you in these meetings, which help to keep us connected with the DOE.

Consultation meeting minutes are now posted on our chapter website.

Upcoming chapter meetings

Please save the following dates! All meetings take place on Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m.

BERS Information Meeting
 Feb. 24, 2016
Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room B. Directions »
RSVP online now »

Date: March 30, 2016
Location: UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, 19th floor. Directions »
RSVP online now »

Date: May 25, 2016
Location: UFT Queens borough office at 97-77 Queens Blvd., 8th floor. Directions »
RSVP online now »

Pension meeting

Come learn about your pension benefits and other pension services that are available to you at a pension meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. I will let you know the registration details for this meeting as soon as they become available.

For all inquiries regarding enrolling in the retirement system, contact the Board of Education Retirement System by calling 800-843-5575 or visiting the BERS website.

Principal's Weekly on mandated services and ramifications for not providing services

A spring 2015 Principal’s Weekly reminded principals that IEP-mandated services for students may not be canceled except in extraordinary circumstances.

Read the Principal’s Weekly item on »

Important reminder about SESIS

Occupational and physical therapists are advised to prioritize SESIS among the tasks normally done during administrative time.

Read the SESIS arbitration decision information sent to principals »

If you do not have adequate time to complete your SESIS encounter attendance or other SESIS-related work during your workday, contact your supervisor and principal. If this does not lead to a resolution of the problem, please email an executive board member or me at


A contract is only as good as its enforcement. Therefore it is important that, as a UFT member, you understand the grievance process. Filing a grievance is the way that we object to a violation of our contract by the Department of Education or of established DOE policy and practice as embodied in bylaws, circulars, personnel memoranda or Chancellor’s Regulations.

For more information about the grievance process, visit the Grievances section of the UFT website.

Know your rights

How to handle a summons

There are members who have been summoned to report to the principal, a DOE representative or a DOE investigator for a meeting that may lead to disciplinary action. It is very important to know your rights and take the appropriate actions if you receive a summons.

If asked to meet with the principal or other supervisor and the meeting can lead to disciplinary action, you are entitled to union representation. If you are summoned, you must attend but you should ask if the meeting could result in disciplinary action. Unless the answer is an absolute “no,” you should insist upon union representation and should not answer questions until your representative is with you. An interview that is not held in accordance with these procedures cannot be made part of your personnel or school file, and any statements you make at such an interview cannot be used against you in any DOE proceeding.

If the meeting is related to general school matters such as attendance, lateness, or school policy, then the elected school chapter leader or district representative should attend with you. If the meeting pertains to occupational or physical therapy practices, paperwork or student attendance, then you should call our OT/PT chapter for assistance. Please note that you may need to postpone this meeting to make arrangements for me, as your OT/PT chapter leader, to attend.

If you are summoned, please call my direct number immediately at 212-598-7705 and also send an email to me at

For more information on how to handle a summons, visit the UFT website.

So many benefits to help you financially!

You enjoy a wealth of benefits through your membership with the UFT. Please visit Our Benefits on the UFT website to learn about health care coverage, pension, member health programs, discounts, promotions and UFT forms to update your contact information.

Chapter representatives

I’d like to introduce our chapter’s executive board members. Please reach out to them if you have any clinical or paperwork issues. They are a wonderful source of information.

Joseph Marino, vice chairperson, PT,
Paul Kutcher, vice chairperson, OT,
Nicole Ecker, secretary, OT,
Catherine Szpunt, at-large OT regional,
Naomi Engelmann, at-large PT regional,
Michelle Taylor, at-large OT District 75,
Edwin Santiago, at-large PT District 75,

Related Topics: Chapter News