I hope you enjoyed the warm weather this spring break. It was certainly well-deserved, and as you prepare for the remainder of the school year, I want to provide you with a number of important chapter updates. This newsletter includes the latest and most pertinent chapter information to respond to your needs and concerns, including protocols for extreme weather conditions. I know this was of great concern to most of you on our last snow day, Feb. 9, and so I want to remind you of the DOE's policy on snow days. I also want to provide you with useful information on what to do during extreme weather.
As you know, teacher assigned job titles vary greatly. We have numerous responsibilities in the communities and offices that we serve, but we do have a few common issues and goals. As we fight to resolve the issues that are of the greatest concern to us, I ask that you stay connected to one another and to our chapter.
For those of you who are new to our Teachers Assigned Chapter, I encourage you to attend our events and visit our website to stay informed and get answers to questions. Last year we sent our first chapter survey and received responses from 30 percent of our members. The top issues of concern are parking, Teacher’s Choice and dangerous weather conditions such as snow days.
This was important knowledge. And one of the most important ways to ensure your voice is heard is to speak up and stand together. There is power in numbers and, together, we can ensure that our leadership keeps a close eye and thoughtful ear to the issues affecting you most. Our chapter's success is dependent on your involvement and I want to hear from you. We are open to hearing your ideas.
I also want to make sure you feel supported by our chapter regardless of the title you hold. I am grateful for our new advisory board, which represents many of our chapter's groups and unique titles and provides various points of view.
Check out upcoming events and news below.
Teachers Assigned Chapter Leader
Our Teachers Assigned Meet-and-Greet
Thanks to the more than 40 teachers assigned who attended our Teachers Assigned Chapter’s Meet-and-Greet on Feb. 2 at UFT headquarters. We were delighted our union's leaders stopped in to chat with members. I want to extend a special thank-you to UFT Assistant Secretary LeRoy Barr, Assistant Treasurer Tom Brown, Vice President for Career and Technical Education High Schools Sterling Roberson and Manhattan Borough Representative Dwayne Clarke.
I also want to say thank you to our chapter’s new Teachers Assigned Advisory Board. We introduced the board's members for the first time at the meet-and-greet. For those of you who missed it, we hope to see you at our next event!
Extreme weather conditions and snow days
Many of you have inquired about procedures for teachers assigned on snow days and in extreme weather. This was an issue of concern during Winter Storm Niko on Feb. 8 and on March 13 when schools closed because of snow. I want you to know that your voices have been heard. As you know, guidelines and snow-day protocols are promulgated by your employer, the Department of Education.
Those guidelines indicate the following:
For school-based staff: Employees whose work assignment is in a school (e.g., Single Shepherds and Universal Literacy Coaches) should not report to work.
For staff who normally report to central and field offices: While schools are closed, central and field offices remain open including those offices located in school buildings. All central and field office staff should report to work or use annual leave.
Reporting to work on snow days or in extreme weather is not grievable and is not covered in our collective bargaining agreement. If you are not a school-based staff member, it is your responsibility as a teacher assigned to report to your designated central or field office. This includes offices located in school buildings. All central and field office staff should report to work or use annual leave.
The Department of Education has an extensive staff emergency page that details everything you need to know in the event of severe weather. It also indicates that "safety should be your highest consideration in deciding whether or not to report to work. All staff should use caution in determining whether to report to work if the weather is bad."
We understand that this is an important issue for our chapter and we will continue to bring it to the forefront so that the leadership can discuss it further. For now, you should make every effort to follow the directives of your supervisor. To help guide you, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Snow-day and extreme weather checklist
- Talk to your supervisor. Find out what your location will be in advance of extreme weather conditions and remember to check with your DOE site for information as it becomes available. We will update you when appropriate, but directions on where to report should come from your supervisor.
- Check the DOE's staff emergency page. Be sure to check this page regularly for the most up-to-date information.
- Make a travel plan.Arrange your travel in advance and incorporate alternatives for where to report pre-approved by your supervisor on an extreme weather day.
- Use annual leave if you cannot report to work safely.A snow day can be counted as a personal day. If you have further questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to include your site location, job title, borough, phone number and your non-DOE email address in your correspondence.
NOTE: Grievances for weather travel days are not covered under our contract. If you were unable to make it to work, see the city's latest Time and Leave Policy memo.
Why we must vote NO to a constitutional convention
New York voters will be asked on Nov. 7, as they are every 20 years, if they want to hold a convention to revise and amend our state constitution.
We need to educate our colleagues about what this could mean to us. Opening the constitution for revision could jeopardize our pension benefits, our right to collective bargaining, our right to Workers’ Compensation, our right to a safe workplace and health benefits, and our right to have the state fund public education. Many of the rights we enjoy as New York State citizens could be fair game for revision by anti-unionists and so-called education reformers.
What's at risk?
- A guaranteed free public education (Article 11, §1);
- Reductions in public pension benefits (Article 5, §7);
- The elimination or curtailing of Workers' Compensation (Article 1, §18);
- The right to be a union member and bargain collectively (Article 1, §17); and
- State-guaranteed social safety net (Article 27, §1).
Please remember to vote "no" in November and ask your colleagues, family and friends to vote “no” as well. For more information on what's at risk, read this New York State United Teachers article
Contribute to COPE
Many of you have expressed that you'd like to become more politically active in our chapter and our union. One way you can get involved is by contributing to the UFT's political action arm. The Committee on Political Education (COPE) is entirely funded by voluntary contributions. It covers the expenses of meeting with and educating legislators, and helps elect officeholders who respect our members, support education and work for union goals. With COPE, we work for laws and policies that further education and safeguard our rights; we back candidates who back us; and we support public officials who get things done for our members, parents and students.
The UFT’s political action work is made possible by the incredibly hard work of thousands of UFT members and by COPE. We do not use union dues for political action. Now, more than ever, it is critically important that you contribute to COPE. Email me at email@example.com to sign up or contact Glen Lopez, the UFT's COPE coordinator, at 1-212-598-9244.
Become a UFT activist
UFT/COPE plans regular trips to Albany throughout the year so that we can speak with legislators and make sure our voices are heard. If you'd like to learn how you can go on these trips and become a UFT activist, visit the COPE page on the UFT website. When you sign up as a volunteer, the UFT will keep you posted on important education issues and involve you in its local, borough and citywide mobilizations and campaigns.
You can also sign up to become a UFT activist here.
Open Market Transfer Plan now open
The Open Market Transfer period is now open. Teachers assigned may revert to a school-based position by applying
to fill vacancies between April 13 and Aug. 7.
If you want a classroom or school-based position and your assignment has not come to an end, you can also use the Open Market Transfer Plan to apply for school-based vacancies. During the open period, these vacancies are posted online; you can view them on the DOE's Open Market Transfer Plan section of the website.
If you'd like to transfer to a new teachers assigned position, you can apply for jobs via the vacancy circulars posted on the DOE website. The listings are revised as positions are filled and principals post new vacancies, so it’s good to regularly visit the website.
How to apply through Open Market Transfer
The application process is straightforward. You complete an online registration form
after you create a user ID and password. You can apply online for all vacancies in
your current license area. All qualified teachers assigned can apply for specific school-based positions at job fairs or send applications to the schools in which they are interested.
You can also send applications and resumes to schools that have not advertised vacancies so that, if an opening arises, a principal 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 receive many online applications, it might be helpful for them to receive a paper copy of your materials as well as the electronic application.
Reminder: Keep your teaching certificate active
I want to remind you, if you have not already done so, to register with the State Education Department using your TEACH account to meet the state’s new requirements regarding certification and tracking of professional development hours. The state asks educators to register online during the month in which they were born. If you missed the deadline for registering in the month you were born, you may still register. Contact an educational liaison in your UFT borough office with questions about the registration process.
Those with a permanent or professional certificate must register with the state through their online TEACH account. This registration informs the state that you are keeping your teaching certificate active. There is no fee associated with registration.
How do I register?
- Register by logging on to your TEACH account with your username and password.
- A step-by-step guide on how to register on TEACH.
- No TEACH account? You must create an account on TEACH ; then log in to register.
Who needs to register?
- Teachers with permanent certificates
- Teachers with professional certificates
- Retired teachers who wish to maintain their certification
Please note: Teachers who hold Initial, Transitional A, Transitional B, Internship or Conditional Initial certificates do not need to register. Members with a professional or Level III teaching certificate issued after July 1, 2016 were registered automatically.
Returning to school-based positions, leaves of absences
Article 11B of our contract clearly outlines rules for assignments and procedures that should be followed if your assignment ends or in the event that you'd like to return to a previously held position. It also provides guidelines for those returning from a leave of absence. As a teacher assigned, you have one year to request to return to your former position at your former school and maintain seniority in accordance with these rules. Please use the section below to guide your planning if you decide to move into a different position or take a leave of absence.
B. Assignment as a Teacher Assigned
- Notice of openings for positions as teachers assigned to district offices or central headquarters shall be posted. The notice shall set forth the job description and qualifications for the positions. Selection for the positions shall be from among qualified applicants who are regularly appointed teachers. Such notices shall be posted in all schools in the district for a position in a district office; or in all schools in the system for a position at central headquarters.
- Assignment to a district office or central headquarters will be on a voluntary basis for a specified period of time or without limit of time. At the end of the assignment, the teacher shall have the right to return to the district from which he/she was assigned. In the case of assignment from a high school or organizational unit, the teacher shall have the right to return to his/her former school or to the organizational unit.
- A teacher assigned who requests a return to his/her former position within one year or, if his/her assignment terminates sooner, at the end of the assignment, shall be returned to his/her former school in accordance with his/her seniority.
- An appropriately selected teacher assigned who requests an opportunity to return to the position from which he/she was excessed shall be returned to that position if within a year a vacancy should occur in that position. If the teacher is serving in a school when the vacancy occurs, the return to position shall be effectuated at the next reorganization unless the school principal agrees to an earlier release.
- After at least one year as a teacher assigned, a teacher assigned who returns from any leave of absence with pay or from a leave without pay of one year or less shall be returned to the position from which he/she took the leave, in accordance with his/her seniority in that position, provided he/she meets the qualifications for the position as they then exist.
- After at least one year as a teacher assigned, 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 Paragraph 4 above shall apply.
Family care giver and support workshop on May 17
Have you or a colleague been affected by someone close to you who has dementia or Alzheimer's disease? If so, the UFT's Member Assistance Program, in collaboration with the NYU Langone Medical Center Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Family Support Program, is offering a family caregiver support workshop on Wednesday, May 17, from 4 to 6 p.m. at UFT headquarters at 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G.
Learn some coping mechanisms in handling the stress of caring for a relative or friend who is suffering from progressive memory loss. Light refreshments will be served.
Important reminders and resources
Here are a few important reminders and resources to support you. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to the respective departments or visit the UFT website.
- Dial-A-Teacher – This program provides a homework help line for elementary and middle school students, run by classroom teachers. It is open Mondays through Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. About 10 languages are supported. The office telephone number is 1-212-598-9205. You can use this number to arrange for workshops, order materials, schedule classroom visits or get general information about the program. If you need to speak to the director, call 1-212-510-6338. For more information, see the Dial-A-Teacher page on the UFT website.
- MAP – The Member Assistance Program provides short-term counseling to in-service UFT members by professionally-trained mental health staff and referrals to outside resources when necessary. These services may help you if you are having difficulty with a traumatic experience or a difficult loss. If you are interested in these services, email MAPinfo@uft.org or call 1-212-701-9620.
- BRAVE – The UFT's BRAVEcampaign aims to combat bullying in our schools. Short for Building Respect, Acceptance and Voice through Education, the BRAVE campaign provides an array of resources and tools for educators. The union offers a series of workshops for UFT members and there is online help available, from background information to lesson plans — see our Resources page. For more information, visit the Be BRAVE Against Bullying page on the UFT website.
- Injuries on the job – Pedagogues – teachers, guidance counselors, school secretaries, psychologists, social workers and lab specialists – injured or who become sick on the job are covered by the Injury-in-the-Line-of-Duty provision of the UFT-DOE contract. If you are injured in the line of duty and you need further assistance, contact your UFT borough office. If you are involved in an accident, remember that all accidents should be reported using the DOE's Comprehensive Injury Report within 24 hours. It must be returned to your principal or supervisor.
Executive Board meeting notes are posted online
We are now posting notes from our Executive Board meetings on our chapter website. These notes are meant to help you stay up-to-date with what's going on in our chapter. Each month, we also invite Advisory Board members to these meetings so that we can better understand and address the concerns of groups within our chapter.
Connect with your chapter representatives
Our chapter has a number of dedicated executive board members including Lynne Kilroy, the coordinator of the Peer Intervention Program (PIP), and Shayshana Gourdine, the field coordinator for Dial-A-Teacher. They can assist you and answer your questions. I also want to extend a special thank you to our chapter's PM staffer, Susana Martin, who so capably assists our chapter.
Our Advisory Board
Tatum Boothe, Reading Coach
Marysol De La Cruz, Office of School Wellness
Dana Falciglia, Educational Liaison
Shawn Fisch, Peer Validator
Tiffany King, Reading Coach
Nicole Marrero, Reading Coach
Caroline Tornabene, Speech Evaluator
Matthew Viera, Committee on Special Education