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Speech Improvement Chapter Newsletter - October 2015

From Mindy

I hope you are having a good start to the school year!

There is a lot going on this fall. In September, our assistant chapter leader, Kathy Lewis; retired executive board member Lisa Arian; and I collaborated with Department of Education supervisors and managers to train hundreds of new speech teachers. We discussed the structure and organization of the DOE and UFT, our roles and professional responsibilities, salary, benefits, and working to build a collaborative culture in our chapter.

One important thing to keep in mind is how large and diverse our union is, and why, for that reason, it is critical that we speech teachers work closely with our chapter to address our issues.

The UFT represents approximately 200,000 members and is the sole bargaining agent for most of the nonsupervisory educators who work in New York City public schools. In addition to about 80,000 or more teachers and close to 25,000 paraprofessionals, our union represents other titles ranging from school social workers to administrative law judges and staff at some charter and private schools.

As your chapter leader, I represent you as one of the more than 3,000 speech teachers, therapists and evaluators in our union. It is my job to make your voice heard. For this reason, it is important that you attend our monthly chapter meetings; read our newsletters, email blasts and the New York Teacher; and get active in your school chapter. Information is power. You need it to navigate a complicated school system. 

Sometimes administrators and supervisors ask you to do things that violate students’ IEPs, telling you to “be a team player” or “make an exception for the good of the school.”  For example, they may ask you to change mandates of push-in to classes full time. But when you know the law, follow the IEP process and understand the DOE’s Standard Operating Procedure Manual (SOPM), you can make appropriate choices for you and your students. Call me or your UFT borough office if you want to discuss an issue, and we will help you to understand your rights and the potential ramifications of your decisions.  

Although we represent you as a DOE employee, your students’ needs should always guide your work. In addition, if you work collaboratively with other school staff, it will make you a more desirable employee who is more likely to  have longevity in the DOE and as a union member. Feel free to call our hotline any day after school and invite me to one of your monthly meetings in your district. Don’t forget to check out our chapter's section of the UFT website. We are here to help and support you.

I wish all of you a wonderful fall semester. 


Mindy Karten Bornemann
Chapter Leader

Coming up soon!

At the end of the month, we have an exciting workshop entitled Understanding Challenging Behaviors for the SLP presented by Dr. Donna Riter in the Bronx and Queens UFT offices. Having enjoyed this workshop at last year’s NYSUT Health Care Council, I know it will be useful across all grade levels and even with interpersonal communication skills. The registration is online, and seating is limited, so register soon!

  • Date: Saturday, Oct. 24 in the Bronx OR Sunday, Oct. 25 in Queens
  • Time: 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
  • Locations: Saturday at the UFT Bronx borough office, 2500 Halsey St.
    Sunday the UFT Queens borough office, 97-77 Queens Blvd.

Register online now.
(Please note that you must be logged into in order to register.)

Please also save the date for Sunday, Nov. 8, when we will welcome another presentation of Lively Letters and Sounds You Can Hear at the UFT Queens borough office. More details will be forthcoming.

Speech Survival Classes starting now

Two of our speech survival classes have already started, and registration for Staten Island classes, which start on Oct. 22, is still open. We are fortunate to welcome former Staten Island representative Debby Poleshuck to help train our newest members. Course curriculum will include clinical plans, IEPs, SESIS, observations, the tenure process, paperwork, portfolios and evaluations. We will also discuss your weekly burning questions.

All sessions of this 10-week course will take place from 4:15 to 6:15 p.m. There will be a one-time registration fee of $55. 

Register online now.

Come help us honor Kathy Lewis on Teacher Union Day!

We are proud to announce that our assistant chapter leader and hotline representative Kathy Lewis has won the UFT’s distinguished Smallheiser Award for union activism. She will receive the award at Teacher Union Day, which will be held at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown on Sunday, Nov. 1. Kathy has been involved in our chapter first as the Bronx representative and then as assistant chapter leader. She has a quiet determination, endless patience and a superior memory and ability to handle difficult situations. Please come, sit at our chapter's tables and celebrate Kathy's work on behalf of all of us speech improvement chapter members. Send your check to me right away — the deadline is Oct. 16 — with the registration coupon.

Important reminder about SESIS

I want to remind you that speech teachers are to be given 155 minutes each week to do SESIS-related work. Please read the Time for SESIS article on our website and contact me or call our hotline right away if you are not being given time during your workday for SESIS work.

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 are not to be canceled except in extraordinary circumstances.

Read the Principal’s Weekly item.

Our Executive Board

Our chapter has elected an Executive Board for 2015-18.

See a list of our chapter representatives.

Speech goals aligned to Common Core curriculum

We are very proud to offer you our speech and language goals aligned to the Common Core from kindergarten to grade 9. There are more than 500 goals which are now posted in the resources section of our chapter website. We could use more goals from District 75 and high school members. If you want to share any District 75 or high school goals that fall under these core curriculum categories send them to

Check out our speech goals aligned to the Common Core standards.

Shortage area procedures and processes

The DOE has this fall revised the online procedures for principals, speech supervisors and human resources directors to apply for shortage-area compensation, which is the pay earned by speech teachers and others in shortage areas who work during their preparation periods to serve students in their caseload.

If you want to work during your preparation periods, make sure that you email your speech supervisor to approve your request before you begin working. They may ask for a copy of your schedule with and without working preparation periods. Please make sure that your request includes the date you want to begin working, the number of periods you will work each week and a request for an emailed confirmation that you have been approved and the application has been processed. You should also make sure that your principal is included in the email so all parties know of your request. 

If you are denied and students are unserved or "contracted" to an outside agency please contact our chapter hotline with the details. Your speech supervisor can hire full- or part-time speech teachers to absorb the students before shortage area is granted.  Please do not begin working until you are approved, and follow up if needed.

Every year we receive calls from members who haven’t been paid, so make sure that you have some kind of written confirmation of your approval in order that we may follow up with the DOE if necessary.

Read more about shortage-area compensation and the DOE's revised procedures

Know your rights

1. How to handle a summons

We get calls on the speech hotline from 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.

Read more about your rights if you are summoned.

2. Observations, lesson plans and ratings

Last fall, speech supervisors received training on observations and lesson plans from the city’s Office of Labor Relations (OLR). At that training we discussed the process by which speech supervisors evaluate us.

Know your rights in regard to observations, lesson plans and ratings.

3. Tenure and ratings

Principals may not use the teacher tenure framework as a rubric to assess functional chapter members’ performance or make tenure decisions. The tenure framework only applies to tenure decisions for classroom teachers.

Know your rights on tenure and ratings.

Related Topics: Chapter News