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Speech Improvement Chapter Newsletter, June 2013

In this issue

Letter from the Chapter Leader: Mindy Karten Bornemann

shelvy-pixDear Speech Chapter Members,

As another year comes to a close, I try to reflect on the things that our chapter has accomplished and make changes for the next school year. We continue to strive to make your lives easier and work to improve your working conditions and job satisfaction.

Our chapter had two speech workshops providing CEUS on Core Curriculum and Auditory Processing and Listening. We continued to celebrate with over 200 of our speech teachers, supervisors, students and their families at our annual Better Speech and Hearing Month Celebration. Each month we have held new teacher and general membership meetings to inform and alert you on the issues that we face each day in the schools. The Speech Chapter hotline number and website continue to be expertly monitored by Kathy Lewis, Sandy Robinson, and Brenda Caquias. Our survival speech class with Lisa Arian continues to empower and enlighten our new providers.

The UFT won the SESIS arbitration and many members received thousands of dollars as part of the settlement, but negotiations have been slow with the DOE. We understand how difficult it has been to get the work done with the restrictions from the chancellor to not do the work after or before school or on weekends and vacations. The arbitrator was clear that members should not be doing the work outside the school day. Next year, our chapter will insist that everyone get 37½ minutes or the equivalent so that the burden to complete SESIS becomes somewhat easier. Negotiations are continuing for the time, access, and computer support that will to make this task acceptable to the members required to work on SESIS each day.

Our chapter has won and paid almost all of the 37½ minute extended-day arbitration money owed to the District 75 members. It has taken awhile to accomplish, but we can now say over $370.000 has been paid as part of the settlement. This is in addition to the award given to the speech teachers in the community school district. Standing together, we can make important changes that impact many of us.

Next year, our chapter’s executive board will establish service positions, such as for secretary, treasurer, legislative coordinator, convention coordinator, speaker and events advisor, social coordinator, professional issues advisor, political action adviser and someone for new teacher outreach. It is my hope that having these positions will help make our chapter stronger and more successful. We will also post our executive board minutes online, which many of you have asked for in recent years.

On a personal note, I was very pleased to see so many of you come to the Fair Contracts for All rally at City Hall. I hope that you will also come and support our mayoral candidate Bill Thompson to be our next mayor. We will need to see all of you get involved in the election to make sure that we elect a candidate who supports us and public education.

I want to tell you also how shocked I was at the UFT executive board meeting on June 3 to receive a plaque and to be honored by President Michael Mulgrew, Vice President Carmen Alvarez, and many of your elected executive board members. The plaque is amazing and so was the look on my face. Check out the picture on the UFT Facebook page. Although our office will close at the end of this week, all of the borough offices will remain open over the summer and they can contact me if there is an urgent situation.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy summer and a much needed rest for the upcoming school year. I hope that you attend one of our meetings or functions in the fall and get involved with our chapter.

Mindy Karten Bornemann

Leaves of Absence

The Department of Education has announced that its Self-Service Online Leave Application System (SOLAS) is now up and running. Beginning July 15, non-supervisory pedagogues must use the online system to request non-medical leaves. Please see the attached announcement and FAQs for additional information.

Letters were sent this week to employees currently on leaves of absence with directions for using the Leave Notification System to inform the DOE of their intentions for next year. To log on, you will need to know your DOE email/network ID and password.

In addition, it is imperative that you give at least 30 calendar days notice in writing if you intend on resigning. An employee who resigns without giving sufficient notice will be given a problem code that will flag you for review by the DOE should you want to withdraw your resignation and return to service. Not giving proper notification of your resignation could prevent you from returning to any position. If you later wish to withdraw your resignation, you must apply to withdraw it on or before the first day of school. An application must be submitted to the DOE.


If you have worked for 20 days or more, you will have received a rating from your principal within the last 10 days of the school year, but not less than four days before the end of the school year. It will have either been: Satisfactory (“S”) or Unsatisfactory (“U”) or, if you were in your first year of teaching, you may have received a Doubtful (“D”). If you were a probationer, the U rating could lead to discontinuance of your probationary period. Since there are ramifications to a U rating, if you received one you should immediately contact your UFT borough office for assistance. Specialists there will help you file an appeal of your adverse rating and explain the various options available. 

Lastly, if you received a U rating and SESIS or the Danielson model were cited as a reason for your rating, please contact the hotline number at 212 598-7774. You must also file an appeal in the UFT borough office. You will need to bring any relevant letters along with the rating sheet.


There are times when a school reduces the size of its faculty, such as when it experiences an unexpected drop in speech students, or is being closed, redesigned or phased out. This is called “excessing.” It is a displacement, but it is quite different from a layoff or a firing.

The speech teacher with the least seniority within the license area will be excessed first. Probationers are excessed before those who have completed probation. Those who are at risk of being “in excess” at the commencement of the following school year should receive written notification no later than June 15 (Article 17B, Rule 12 of the UFT contact). Excessing should occur before the 15th day of the term.

In addition, if you receive an Excess Letter from your principal or an HR partner you should continue to check your status on the Open Market; the letter does NOT mean the excess has been approved. The "MY CURRENT STATUS" button on the Open Market website will tell you your status (and if it states you are NOT in excess, it means your excess has not been approved).  In August, the status will indicate where you will be placed if they have not secured a position.

Job security guaranteed

If you are notified that you will be excessed, you can avail yourself of the opportunity that all speech teachers have to apply for any or all citywide vacancies in your license area. Vacancies are posted online through the Open Market Transfer website from April 15 through August 7. We encourage you to apply. This year there will be many more vacancies on the Open Market due to our chapter’s pressure to get all of the vacancies listed and to finally get part-time (split positions) online.

If you do not secure a new full-time school assignment, you will be assigned to the Absent Teacher Reserve pool in your district or high school superintendency. This continues to be a rarity since we are still a shortage area.

According to the June 2011 Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Education and the UFT, teachers who remain in excess (in the ATR pool) who are not utilized to cover leaves or long-term absences or are not hired provisionally to fill a vacant position will be assigned each week to a different school within the district. You cannot be involuntarily assigned to a school outside your district. As a member in excess (in the ATR pool), you will continue to receive your regular pay, accrue seniority, and enjoy health and pension benefits.

Speech teachers in closing schools

If you work in a school that is closing or being phased out, you have the right to apply and be considered for positions in any new schools in the same building. Under Article 18D of the UFT contract, a minimum of 50 percent of the positions in the new schools are reserved for the most senior applicants from the closing school who meet the school’s qualifications.

Any remaining vacancies at the new school are to be filled by that school’s personnel committee from among transfer applicants, excessed staff or new hires.

The Open Market

Speech teachers have the opportunity to transfer to a different school under the Open Market Transfer Plan. Principals will post anticipated as well as approved vacancies between April 15 and August 7. During the open period, these vacancies are posted online. View openings >>

The listings are revised as positions are filled and principals post new vacancies, so it’s good to regularly recheck the website. If you know that a vacancy is available but not posted, please contact your borough office and district representative as soon as possible with the details. Schools can advertise and select staff to all projected vacancies, but a transfer won’t become final until the vacancy is an approved vacancy and the transferring employee has been entered into the Galaxy budget of the new school.

How to apply through Open Market Transfer

The application process is straightforward. You’ll be asked to complete an online registration form. To do that, you’ll have to create a user ID and password. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to electronically apply for any and all vacancies in your current license area. All qualified speech teachers, including those who have been placed in excess, can apply for specific positions at job fairs or send applications to the schools they are interested in.

You can also send applications and resumes to schools that have not advertised vacancies so that, in the event a vacancy arises, principals will be aware of your interest. We recommend that in addition to filing an online application via the Open Market Transfer Plan system, you also submit a hard copy of your cover letter and resume via fax, mail or in person. Since principals may be receiving many online applications, it might be helpful for them to receive a paper copy of your materials as well as the electronic application. You can also contact the speech supervisor in a district to see if they may know about recent retirees or members who may be on a leave of absence.

The hiring process

School-based committees made up of supervisors and teachers will interview candidates. The committee is not required to interview all applicants. It will make a hiring recommendation, but the final decision rests with the principal. If you’re successful, the hiring principal will enter you into his or her Galaxy budget and you’ll receive a printed contract, which both you and the principal will sign, which makes the transfer official. Your current principal will be notified by the system at that point.

You don’t need a release from your current principal during the transfer period of April 15 to August 7 to accept a position elsewhere. If you are offered a position after that date, the transfer cannot be completed unless you are released by your current principal. The plan places no limits on the percentage of staff that may transfer out of the same school.
If you apply for many positions and are not contacted at all and have had no opportunity to interview, please notify Special Representative Amy Arundell, the UFT’s point person for the Open Market Transfer Plan, at

If you have any questions on any of the information in this newsletter you can contact your borough office for more assistance.