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Occupational and Physical Therapists Chapter Newsletter: October 2016

I hope everyone had a great first month of the school year! I would like to thank the many members who attended last year’s chapter meetings to voice concerns and gain valuable union information. I also thank those who celebrated with each other at our end-of-the-year OT/PT social in June at the Brooklyn UFT office. It was lovely meeting all of you! We’ll have more such events this year.

Please take note of all of the memorandums the Department of Education has issued in regard to the clinical guide. And please email me at if you are required to complete additional paperwork.

Also, please spread the word to new therapists about becoming UFT members; our union is only as strong as our membership. The UFT has been a strong advocate because of our membership’s activity. But we need every one of you to stand up and be counted.

I look forward to seeing you at our chapter meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway. And bring along a new colleague to introduce them to the world of unionism!


Kerri Evangelista
Occupational Therapists/Physical Therapists Chapter Leader

OT/PT Clinical Guide

This memo was sent to our members last spring by Suzanne Sanchez, senior director, DOE Therapeutic Services. It’s important so I’m repeating it here:

“In collaboration with the DOE and UFT, the OT/PT Annual Review Plan was discontinued with the goal of jointly developing the OT/PT Clinical Guide … The Clinical Guide utilizes open-ended, thought-provoking questions that ask therapists to consider students’ current service levels, current functioning levels, educationally relevant gains/progress, and skills needed for the student to be recommended for services in a Least Restrictive Environment that allows them access to a general education curriculum.

The Clinical Guide will not be used as a supervisory measure, but rather as a tool for therapists to use in developing their interventions and methods of student support.

As of March, 15, 2016, OT/PT staff members are required to complete the clinical tool prior to each student’s annual review meeting. Please use the SESIS upload feature to upload the Clinical Guide into the “Documents Related to IEP” section within each student’s SESIS file.

See the video demonstration of how to use the upload feature »

Therapists will not need to fax any documents in completing and uploading the clinical guide.

A one-page “How-To” guide is attached for your reference. This is a sample guide and does not mean all sections must be completed in this manner. Therapists should use their clinical judgment and decision making in completing the guide. Although the clinical guide is not going to be used as a supervisory tool, at any time please reach out to your OT/PT supervisor at any time for support/guidance in your clinical problem-solving process.

The clinical tool should be used in conjunction with IEP development of a preschool student and for a mandated three-year review (if the school IEP team is not requesting a re-evaluation).”

Our priority is our students

Our first priority is to provide our students with their mandated services as required by the Individualized Education Program. If you are required to complete an evaluation, please review it with your clinical supervisor to ensure that you can complete the evaluation within the appropriate time frame without canceling sessions. 

The UFT fought to ensure that members do not need to complete work on SESIS outside of regular school hours. For further information, see the SESIS page on the UFT website.

Stay in touch with the union

Sometimes, of course, it’s not possible to attend our meetings. But we still want to hear from you! If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please telephone or email our Executive Board members. Our office number is 212-598-7705. Or you can email us during the following hours.

For urgent matters during non-office hours, however, please contact your full-time UFT representatives at the appropriate borough offices.

And we want to stay in touch with you!

I plan to send more frequent updates to you; so much happens, so quickly and you need to know what I know! In addition, I ask you periodically to check the OT/PT page on the union’s website for information about upcoming events and for answers to frequently asked questions.

If you’ve received this, obviously you’re already on our email list. But a number of your colleagues are not. Please ask them, especially the newer people, if they’re receiving union emails and if they’re not, ask them to contact the UFT membership department at 212-598-6855. (On a related subject, if you’ve recently moved or changed telephone numbers, please fill out the Personal Information Change Form to make sure the UFT has your new information as well. Send it to the Membership Department, UFT, 52 Broadway, NY, NY 10004.)

Are emails heading to your spam folder?

If you haven’t received emails from the UFT, please check your spam folder. We’ve heard from some members that our emails are ending up there recently. If they’re not there, please email me at and write “not receiving UFT emails” in the subject line. You need the information we send to you.

While we’re on the topic of electronic communication, I encourage you to sign up to receive texts from the UFT by filling out the online form or send a text message to "30644" and type the word "UFT" in the message field. Many of our members have reported to us that they find our texts about weather emergencies, school closings and immediate political events to be helpful. I promise we won’t inundate you with text messages; we will still use email as our primary mode of communication.

Resources and links

At the beginning of the year, it’s good to review some basics. First and foremost, if you’re not a UFT member, I hope you’ll consider joining now. Union membership gives you a voice in the union, and helps build solidarity. The UFT is strong because of its members! If you’d like to become a member, sign up on the UFT website.

The UFT Welfare provides many amazing, supplemental health benefits including coverage of prescription drugs, dental, hearing aids and vision services. For more information, visit the Welfare Fund’s website.

The Membership Assistance Program provides short-term counseling to in-service UFT members. Counseling is conducted by professionally trained mental health staff; you can also get referrals to outside practitioners. For more information, call 212-701-9620 or visit the Member Assistance Program page on the UFT website.

The Board of Education Retirement System of the City of New York manages our pensions. If you have questions about your pension, contact BERS at 800-843-5575.

To file for Workers’ Compensation, you must follow certain procedures and file paperwork quickly. To find out more, visit the Workers’ Compensation page the UFT website.

Please notify me, your principal and your school's chapter leader of any accident or incident. All accidents should be reported.

Related Topics: Chapter News