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Speech Improvement Chapter Newsletter - November 2016

With the holidays fast approaching, I hope all returning and new members have had a very successful and rewarding fall. We had a busy September with our staff development workshop presented by Dr. Janice Smith on “Writing Interactive Journals” and training for our new speech teachers at central UFT

Our speech survival classes have begun in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx to support our newest chapter members. Those who have attended these classes in the past have reported that they have been well prepared for their observations, year-end ratings, the tenure process, paperwork and computer work as required as part of this job. 

In this very important election year, we are reminding everyone to VOTE. Not only is the presidency at stake but the Supreme Court as well. As you know, the UFT, NYSUT and the AFT are supporting Hillary Clinton. We believe she is the best candidate on education issues. Remember to take your relatives and friends who cannot drive to the polls and remind everyone to vote this year.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions through our hotline number 212-598-7774. Assistant chapter leaders Kathy Lewis and Brenda Caquias and I can assist you after 3 p.m.

Short emails can be also sent to me at With Lisa Arian’s assistance, we try to answer those in a timely fashion. Please do not send long or complex emails because it is faster to connect by telephone; the follow-up emails end up taking more time than a phone call! And please: Always use your personal email when you write to me.

Last, but not least, we’ll have a chapter meeting at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30 at central UFT, 52 Broadway. I’ll send out a notice before the meeting.

Have a good November!


Mindy Karten Bornemann
Speech Improvement Chapter Leader

Your go-to person is your chapter leader

Make sure you introduce yourself to your school chapter leader. He or she is your go-to person to assist you with school-related issues. Our chapter leaders are also trying to ensure that the union has the right addresses and phone numbers for all members.

Your chapter leader is the first person to contact if you have a problem at your school. Your chapter leader can assist with issues related to supplies, space, salary, attendance procedures, school policies and other day-to-day questions. They can also file a school-related grievance for you.

Please use our hotline – 212-598-7774 – if you need support in anything related to speech therapy including lesson plans, IEPs, SESIS-encounter attendance, questions related to the Standard Operating Procedure Manual ( SOPM) or the Speech Standards of Practice (SOPM) and information related  observations, tenure and ratings. 

If any of these issues include something that may lead to disciplinary action, contact me immediately. My email is or call the hotline number above.

Contract protects you from excessive paperwork

Our 2009-18 contract contains strong provisions for reducing excessive paperwork especially computer work and the provision of curricula. So I was amazed when members reported in the UFT’s spring survey that excessive paperwork was the number one burden; much of that drudgery is caused by administrative demands including re-creating lists of students who have been served for speech therapy or printing out encounter attendance logs.

In May 2015, these standards were clarified. Among other concerns, educators cannot be required to perform “redundant, duplicative, unnecessary or unreasonable amounts of record-keeping.”

Read UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s New York Teacher column on curbing excessive paperwork.

Article 8I of the contract is clear on reducing paperwork. If you have a school-level paperwork issue caused by your principal or school administration, bring it to your chapter leader’s attention.

Your chapter leader will file a paperwork reduction form and attempt to resolve it at the school level. If the problem does not get resolved there, then it may escalate to the district or central level.

If you have a paperwork issue that is not school-based, you should notify me and provide all relevant documents. I will complete the paperwork reduction reporting form and will attempt to resolve it with your speech supervisor. All of the district paperwork procedures will apply; if it is not resolved, the UFT may take it to the central paperwork committee.  

A typical case: Recently, one speech supervisor asked her speech teachers to provide a roster of students with their OSIS number, date of birth and mandates. The information was already in SESIS. Although the speech supervisor expressed her dismay with the errors in SESIS and was reluctant to withdraw the request, she finally did so because of the paperwork agreement and the duplicative nature of the work she had requested.

The union has resolved other paperwork complaints as well, but we have to know about them to help you. Read Article 8I and know your contract!

Please see the UFT Speech Improvement Chapter newsletter from June 2015 to learn more.

Putting pressure on the DOE over SESIS

The UFT has made some gains in pressuring the DOE to fix SESIS connectivity and bandwidth by late spring and/or early fall.

The DOE and city have analyzed error reports and time outs when using the Encounter Attendance system. They have worked on time outs, freezing and error reports; informed us that SESIS can now be used with Safari and Chrome; and reported that connectivity capacity from Metrotech Center may allow the system to function more efficiently.

If you are still getting many errors and time outs, please let me know as well as reporting them through the new reporting system.

A shout out to our colleagues

Many thanks to chapter members Kesha Hill, Ladesha Gill-Bey, Blake Rose and Gale Hendler for meeting with the chancellor’s representatives and computer programmers to discuss SESIS issues and  make suggestions for improvements. Ms. Hill and Ms. Gill Bey are Executive Board members.

Thanks to you, we’re getting Election Day SESIS catch-up time!

With several holidays falling on Monday and Tuesday earlier this school year, many of us lost the allocated time during which we were supposed to do our SESIS work. We saw Nov. 8, Election Day, normally a day of professional development for us, as an opportunity to recapture at least some of this time.

By the time you receive this newsletter, your supervisor should have emailed you, informing you that you may use all or part of Election Day to catch-up on your SESIS work.

If your supervisor has scheduled professional development for that day, and you need the time for SESIS work, your supervisor should share the materials with you and offer to discuss them with your at another time.

If your principal has scheduled professional development for that day, and you want to use the time for SESIS work, you should request to be released from the activity. If issues arise, your supervisor can assist you in resolving them.

Your help in alerting me and the DOE to this situation made this happen. Thanks to those of you who took the time to send an email!

Reminders about Special Education Providers

An oldie but goodie from the Principal’s Weekly: In accordance with federal law, the programs and services on a student’s IEP – which may include special education programs (i.e., integrated co-teaching classes, SETSS, and special classes) related services (speech, OT, PT and counseling) and paraprofessional – are legally mandated and necessary for the student to make progress in school.

Therefore, special education teachers and providers for these services must serve each student as mandated and may not be assigned to other duties (such as exam scoring, or coverage/proctoring for other classes) that would prevent them from doing so, except in extraordinary circumstances.)

For more information, please see the UFT Speech Improvement Chapter newsletter from January.

Encounter Attendance rules stay the same

There have been no time changes to encounter attendance this year. The DOE is still allocating time in in the same manner as last year. You have until the 15th of the following month to complete SESIS Encounter Attendance. 

If you are not getting the appropriate time or have been told different information that what you’ve read here, contact the hotline. Remember: After the 15th of the month, you cannot change, or delete any Encounter Attendance record.

UFT win clarifies pre- and post-observation procedures

A recent UFT arbitration win clarifies information with respect to pre- and post- observations. The contract clearly and unambiguously defines the pre- and post-conferences as separate and distinct in nature.

The post-observation conference for a prior observation cannot be designated as the pre-observation for an upcoming observation. 

To review: A formal observation is one where the speech teacher knows the supervisor is coming. A pre-observation conference must focus on the content of the specific lesson to be observed. This is important for everyone but especially for those who have received a U rating.

At the pre-observation conference, you and your speech supervisor should openly discuss the lesson, and exchange other ideas. Best practices show that the pre-observation conference should be given so that the teacher has enough time prior to the observation to adapt lesson and plans.

Please let us know if you are not given a pre-observation conference or a post-observation conference. Read more about the arbitration ruling.

Don’t get shortchanged over shortage area process

The DOE has changed the shortage area process and established funding in Galaxy for payment of additional compensation to staff in shortage areas in 2016-17. The UFT is monitoring this to ensure everyone gets paid in a timely fashion after you receive approval from your speech supervisor or manager (where there is no supervisor.)

If you have not been approved for additional compensation or you have not received your compensation in a timely fashion, please contact the hotline so we can monitor the issue. Do not start working shortage area until you receive approval from your speech supervisor, in writing if possible.

Workshops for new teachers

The UFT Member Assistance Program in collaboration with the UFT Teacher Center invites all teachers with one to three years of experience to attend professional learning workshops on topics such as pension, workplace safety and pedagogy.

Participants will learn about our union, our benefits and our profession, as well as meet their peers in a supportive environment. Two CTLE hours, formerly known as professional development hours, are available for attending some of these workshops.

All workshops are held from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway,19th floor. Refreshments are served. For a full list of workshops, see the flier. To register, use this online form.

Are you a member of the UFT?

Make sure you sign up as a UFT member by completing a membership card because it does not happen automatically. Members receive all of our newsletters, online access to the contract, the right to vote in UFT elections plus information about workshops and other union events.

If a colleague has not received emails and newsletters from us, have him or her contact membership to ensure the UFT has the right information.

If you are a new member, visit our webpage to review recent newsletters and read other relevant information.

I hope to meet you at our next chapter meeting or one of the speech meetings during the year.

Related Topics: Chapter News