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Teachers Assigned Chapter Newsletter - June 2016

As we approach the end of the school year, your UFT officers and staff would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication. We surmounted a number of challenges including Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which threatened our ability to collect fair-share fees, the fight for the billions the state owes schools through the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement and making sure that everyone knows unionism is still strong in New York City.

Despite right-wing attacks on teachers, what we do as educators has not gone unnoticed by the vast majority of parents in this city. This year, the UFT celebrated what we called “the passion and promise” of our students; it was wonderful to see how schools displayed student work through art shows, dance and theater performances, health and science fairs, chess competitions, athletic contests, cooking workshops, open houses and at many other venues.

As I reflect on my first year as your chapter leader, I realize how much I’ve learned about you and your needs. The job has been a wonderful challenge and I have enjoyed serving as your advocate and ensuring that your voices and concerns are heard.

I want to thank the members of our executive board: Shayshana Gourdine, Lynne Ann Kilroy, David Edelman and Lisa North. Together, they work to provide our chapter with the information and the resources necessary to support you. They have been instrumental to our success this year by helping to map out our newsletters, collect data in our chapter survey and plan our meet-and-greet! Please join me in thanking them for all their hard work.

I would also like to extend a special thank you to our UFT Staff Director LeRoy Barr, Manhattan Borough Representative Dwayne Clark and the entire UFT Manhattan borough office staff. The steadfast support I've received from our former Chapter Leader Nadine Reis and the UFT communications department also made my first year as chapter leader a success.

Please be aware of the following end-of-the-year checklist items:

  • Review job postings and descriptions for your teacher assigned position and note any changes.

  • The Open Market Transfer period runs from April 15 to 5 p.m. on Aug. 7.

  • Please keep copies of your end-of-the-year evaluations.

  • Become knowledgeable about your rights in disciplinary hearings. Carefully read the Know Your Rights section of this newsletter.

  • Review the section below about teachers assigned assignments. We answer your questions about what happens when your assignment ends, whether you can revert to a position and your rights vis à vis leaves of absence.

Please continue to email me your titles at teachersassigned@uft.org so that we can learn about the demographics of our chapter. You can also send me suggestions throughout the summer about what you would like to see on our chapter website so we can keep it as relevant as possible.

I also invite you to join your colleagues and me for a special end-of-the-year social for our chapter members, hosted by the UFT’s Manhattan borough office, on Thursday, June 16. (See details below.)

I want to wish you a happy, healthy and restful summer!

Sincerely, 

Shelia Laval-Friedman
Teachers Assigned Chapter Leader


Come to an end-of-the-year social

The UFT’s Manhattan borough office is hosting an end-of-the-year social for our chapter on Thursday, June 16. Network with your colleagues and celebrate your accomplishments this year. There is no cost to attend and dinner will be provided. The deadline to register has been extended to Wednesday, June 8.

Preregistration is required. 

When: Thursday, June 16 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Where: Dallas BBQ, 261 8th Ave. in Manhattan. Directions »

RSVP online now »

See the flier »


Our Meet the President event for functional chapters

UFT President Michael Mulgrew with Vice President for Special Education Carmen Alvarez (seated) and (standing, from left) Paula Brown, a teacher assigned; Kerry Yefet, the UFT liaison to the Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support; and Teachers Assigned Chapter Leader Shelia Laval-Friedman.

Nearly 100 functional chapter members gathered on May 5 for a Meet the President event. We talked about a number of concerns with UFT President Michael Mulgrew including professional development, student attendance and obtaining more resources for the work we do with students. I want to extend a special thank you to those chapter members who attended. It was a great opportunity to celebrate our pride in our chapter.

For those of you who couldn’t make it, we missed you and hope you can make it next year.

See other photos from the event »


Teachers assigned vacancies

I want to make sure you know about some teachers assigned vacancies. Please carefully review the job posting eligibility and criteria before you apply but be aware that the deadline for submitting an application is quickly approaching.

Vacancies for 2016–17:

See vacancy postings for teachers assigned »


Reminder: Review your postings

Each teacher assigned position offered by the Department of Education has a position summary and specific duties/responsibilities.

If you have not reviewed the vacancy circular related to your job title since the DOE hired you, I strongly encourage you to do so. This will help you to better understand the requirements expected of you as well as your relationship to other DOE-support structures. You should also review Article 11 of our contract, which outlines guidelines for assignment as a teacher assigned, hours of service, the work year, sick leave, annual leave and more.

To view our contract online, you’ll need to make sure you are signed up on the website. Signing up just takes a minute and it’s important because only by signing up do you receive emails from our chapter and the union and get full access to our contract online.

If you have any questions regarding your individual position summary or duties, please contact the DOE’s Division of Human Resources and Talent by calling 718-935-4000.


FAQ on assignment procedures

I often receive questions about the policies governing end of assignments, how to revert to a specific school-based position, how to transfer to a new position and how to take a leave of absence or sabbatical. I’m providing the following answers to frequently asked questions. But if you have any questions that remain unanswered, please contact email me at teachersassigned@uft.org.

1. What happens if my teacher assigned assignment ends?

At the end of the assignment, a teacher has the right to return to the district from which he/she was assigned. Teachers can pursue school-based positions through the open market or teacher assigned positions via the job vacancy circulars posted online. If a teacher does not obtain a school-based position before the beginning of the school year, the teacher will be added to the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool.

2. What happens if my teacher assigned assignment has not ended but I wish to revert back to a specific school-based position or pursue a different teacher assigned position?

A teacher assigned who requests a return to his/her former position within one year shall be returned to his/her former school in accordance with his/her seniority. If a teacher assigned wants to pursue a classroom or school-based position and his/her assignment has not come to an end, the teacher can pursue school-based positions through the open market system or teacher assigned positions via the job vacancy circulars posted online.

3. What happens if I take a leave of absence or sabbatical as a teacher assigned?

Teachers assigned are eligible for both unpaid leaves of absence or partially paid sabbaticals for study to enhance teaching skills or restoration of health. After at least one year as a teacher assigned, a teacher assigned who returns from any leave of absence with or without pay of one year or less shall be returned to the position from which he/she took the leave, in accordance with seniority in that position provided he/she meets the qualifications for the position as they then exist.

A teacher assigned who returns from a leave of absence without pay of more than one year shall be returned to that position from which he/she took the leave provided a vacancy exists. If no vacancy exists, the teacher will be placed in excess and be added to the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool.


Send in your teachers assigned titles!

We are a diverse group and I want to get to know each of you. If you haven’t already done so, please email your name and your current title to teachersassigned@uft.org. Currently, we have identified the following titles:

  • Instructional Coordinators

  • Teacher Development Coaches

  • Dial-A-Teacher Field Coordinators

  • Peer Validators

  • Pre-K Instructional Leaders

  • Medical Inspectors

We also have a number of members from the Peer Intervention Program and the Committee on Special Education. I will keep you updated as we continue to collect information about our chapter.


Know your rights

According to the latest regulations, the Office of Special Investigations is responsible for handling allegations of verbal abuse and corporal punishment. When an allegation of verbal abuse or corporal punishment is made, the supervisor of the accused individual must immediately report the charge to the Office of Special Investigation within 24 hours. At that time, the supervisor will be advised whether to conduct an investigation or await an investigation by the Office of Special Investigations. When the supervisor is directed to investigate, the office provides "guidance and instruction" about how to do so.

Once an allegation of verbal abuse or corporal punishment has been made and an investigation has begun, those conducting a school-based investigation have 10 working days to complete their inquiries and issue an A-420 or an A-421 report with their conclusions on whether verbal abuse or corporal punishment took place. You have the right to union representation when questioned as part of an investigation, and the union strongly urges you to exercise that right. A-420 and A-421 regulations also require that investigators provide all witness statements to the accused.

Before any disciplinary action may be taken and regardless of who conducts the investigation, the teacher or paraprofessional accused of verbal abuse or corporal punishment has the right to a hearing, with representation, to address the charges. The accused individual must receive at least 48 hours written notice of such hearing. (Before the latest circular, there were no firm time limits or requirements for advance notice of hearings.) The accused employee also has the right to see and transcribe all witness statements. Statements may be redacted of identifiable information if the accused employee does not sign a privacy acknowledgement.

All accused employees and their union representatives present at the disciplinary conference are entitled to see and retain copies of all witness statements prior to administration of any and all disciplinary action.

When an investigation determines the the staff member has not committed corporal punishment or verbal abuse or the evidence does not support the allegations, the staff member must be so notified, in writing.

If you are accused of corporal punishment or verbal abuse, contact your UFT chapter leader and your UFT district representative immediately for guidance.

For more information, see the guide to investigations »


Guidelines for letters in your file

If you receive a letter in your file, please note that:

  • Signing the letter indicates only that you have seen the material, not that you agree with it.

  • You are entitled to two copies of the letter; one to sign and return, and one to keep for your records.

  • You are entitled to a reasonable timeframe to read the letter before signing and returning it.

  • You are entitled to write a rebuttal to the letter at any time and have that response attached to the letter in the file. You should notify your chapter leader if you receive a letter to your file. It is important to discuss your response to the letter with your chapter leader and have him/her review it before you submit it.

  • You are entitled to remove letters from the file that are more than three years old if disciplinary charges do not follow

For more information about receiving a letter in your file, visit the Know Your Rights section of the UFT website.


Information about arrests

If you are arrested for any reason, you must call the Office of Personnel Investigations within 24 hours of the arrest. Call 718-935-2666 or email OPIarrestnotification@schools.nyc.gov. You must contact the DOE's office and notify your principal no matter what the offense is. You must do the same if you are arrested out-of-state. If you are suspended, you must file a grievance.

For more information about arrests, visit the UFT website.


Sign up for text messages

The UFT is now sending text messages to members’ mobile phones to deliver information quickly, such as to alert you about weather emergencies; remind you about rallies and other union actions; and update you on vital news. UFT text messages are only occasional. Most messages will still be sent by email.

To sign up to receive UFT text messages, text “UFT” to 30644 from your mobile phone.

Related Topics: Chapter News