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Speech Improvement Chapter Newsletter, Summer 2012

In this issue

Letter from the Chapter Leader: Mindy Karten Bornemann

I know that this has been a challenging year and we are not sure how the new special education reform will affect all of us next year. I am proud of all of the speech providers in our chapter. Despite all of the struggles we experienced this year with SESIS, pressure to modify mandates, NPIs, time studies and ongoing building-specific issues, you never lost your focus on what matters — providing the best services possible to your students. This is because we are a union of professionals. We know that parents and the public are relying on this union and its members to stand up for this city’s public school children. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously. The only thing that keeps our schools moving forward is your hard work, day in and day out, on behalf of your students. Thank you.

Have a safe and restful break!

Mindy Karten Bornemann

SESIS arbitration update

Many of you have called about our SESIS arbitration. We have just completed day 16 of the hearing. There are 3 more dates scheduled for the fall. The arbitrator will then render a decision. The DOE has refused to provide a sound and reasonable plan for implementing the Special Education Student Information System (SESIS).

Please make sure that you document all of the work that you do on SESIS before and after your workday and/or your duty-free lunch. The union is asking that employees who have had to work beyond their normal workday be paid for their time. If the union succeeds, members may need to provide proof of the additional time they worked in order to get paid. Hang on to this documentation until the union requests it. This union-initiated grievance, along with our improper practice charge filed with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), seek to force the DOE to provide the equipment, time, training and support that our members need to do work involving SESIS.

End-of-year ratings: SESIS and Danielson

By now you should have received your overall rating for the year. Most of you should have received an S rating. If you received a U rating or a doubtful, please do not ignore the rating. First-year teachers can also receive a rating of Doubtful (“D”). You should review your rating sheet to verify that your CAR, salary, license and address information is accurate before signing it. Bring any unsatisfactory rating to the UFT borough office to file an appeal.

Often ratings are given for excessive absences or lateness. You may have documentation that shows that you have had illnesses or extraordinary circumstances. Be sure to share this with your U rating advocate.

If you have received a U rating based solely on failure to complete SESIS encounter attendance in a timely manner please let UFT Vice President Carmen Alvarez know. Email her at so her office can follow up. Do not delay, we want to hear from you.

The Danielson model should not be used to rate speech teachers. This model of evaluation is only for classroom teachers. Let the UFT borough office know if your rating was based on this model.

Lastly, if you received a combined observation which has both a student observation and administrative information such as SESIS or paperwork, let the borough office know. We believe that observations and administrative reviews should be separate reports. Our chapter may file a union initiated grievance on these combined reports.

U-rating appeals are filed at UFT borough offices. You have three weeks, not including the summer, to file an appeal.

Open Market Transfer Plan

The open period for applying to transfer from your current school to a different one runs from mid-April to August 7 each year. You have a right to apply for vacancies (posted on the DOE website). If you are hired by August 7, you can transfer without principal release. All members who are offered a position through the Open Market Transfer Plan must receive a “letter of intent to hire,” which is signed by the member and the principal, in addition to an email confirming the transfer. Without this letter, you will not have proof of your open market transfer. Make sure to get a copy of this letter for your records. After August 7, you have to be released by your current principal in order to transfer to another school. This year we have over 120 speech vacancies thanks to Amy Arundell, the UFT special representative, who has been working with Mindy this year to get contractor and vacancies on this plan. Be sure to follow up with the school and ask for an interview. Thank you for alerting me to the vacancies and “contracted out” positions which enabled us to get more jobs on the Open Market this year.

Resigning? Give notice

The DOE has revived a longstanding Chancellor’s regulation that pedagogical employees who are resigning must give 30 calendar days’ notice. Therefore, if a teacher wants to resign (not retire) effective Sept. 4, the first day of school this year, he or she has to submit a letter of resignation by Aug. 4. According to the DOE, those employees who resign without providing 30 calendar days’ notice will be given a problem code in their personnel file that will flag them for review should they wish to return to teaching in the future. There is no notice requirement for retiring teachers. Giving plenty of notice also helps ATRs find positions. Although it is not mandatory and there will be no penalties if you do not do so, the UFT is encouraging all staff members who plan to either retire or resign before the beginning of the next school year to inform their school administration as soon as possible.

UFT Borough Offices open for business this summer

Beginning Monday, July 2 and continuing through Aug. 31, all borough offices will be open Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. The Speech Hotline will close this year on June 29 so make sure you call one of the borough offices for help. On July 3, borough offices will close at 4:15 p.m. All UFT offices will be closed on Wednesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day and on Monday, Sept. 3, in observance of Labor Day. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 4. Bring your photo ID.

Support your chapter at the Labor Day Parade on Sept. 8>

We are looking for a big demonstration of UFT member support for the annual Labor Day Parade on Saturday, Sept. 8. We’ll be joining with all of our public and private sector labor-union brethren in this city to show our solidarity and strength.

To encourage participation this year, the union has issued a friendly challenge: the chapters with the highest number of parade sign-ups will each receive a custom UFT banner emblazoned with the chapter's name, for the chapter to display proudly at the parade and any future demonstrations.

Let’s show the strength of our chapter and our union! And let’s win that banner!

Save the date and sign up today »