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Team High School Newsletter - September 2014

As educators we are accustomed to the rhythm of the academic year. We work long hours under much stress from September to June, and we use July and August to spend quality time with our loved ones, rejuvenate our minds and bodies and plan for the coming year.

We begin this school year with some positive changes. The contract we negotiated last spring gives educators more voice than ever. We have many new opportunities to make the collective decisions that are best for our schools and students. It's time now for us to come together to implement the new agreement in a way that supports our profession, strengthens our educational practice and fortifies our school communities.

We look forward to seeing you at the next citywide high school committee meeting.

Thanks for all you do.

In solidarity,

Janella Hinds, Vice President of Academic High Schools
Sterling Roberson, Vice President of Career and Technical Education High Schools

Contact your union for help in implementing our contract!

To ensure that your union has a voice in your school community, it is crucial to hold monthly UFT Consultation and School Leadership Team meetings. Our new contract also establishes two new school-based groups, the Measures of Student Learning (MOSL) and Professional Development Committees, which are intended to promote collaborative decision-making on teacher learning opportunities and evaluation. As always, we are here to help you in your efforts to ensure that our high schools are safe, supportive and delivering the education our students deserve. Please don't hesitate to contact Team High School or your borough office to arrange a visit or to discuss organizing work at your schools.

How will our schools organize time and identify priorities for Professional Development?

As our agreement provides for real voice for UFT members in planning weekly professional development, now is the time to implement a school-level Professional Development Planning Committee. One task of the committee will be to determine how PD will be determined, delivered and assessed. One suggestion is to spend initial months discussing and creating spaces to engender trust, honest conversations and other conditions needed for true support and collaboration.

Prepare for your Initial Planning Conference now!

Now is the time to prepare for your Initial Planning Conference (IPC). Remember that this meeting should be one-on-one with your principal and held during a mutually agreed upon time. 

Each of us has the right to choose to have this meeting serve as our initial pre-observation conference under option 1 of the evaluation system. Otherwise a separate pre-observation conference should be scheduled. Use this meeting with your principal to discuss the supports and resources needed to ensure student success.

See this article for planning the Initial Planning Conference »

For teachers of students with disabilities, this checklist on the Initial Planning Conference can be very helpful »

UFT members have two days to file Reorganization Grievances

We have two days after receiving programs to file a Reorganization Grievance (right to preference). Contact your chapter leader, district representative or your borough office with any questions or concerns.

New school meet and greet Oct. 7

All UFT members at a school that is opening this month or which opened last year are invited to a UFT new school member meet and greet. Come join fellow UFT members for information, food and fellowship!

Save the date: Academic High School Awards Ceremony – Jan. 29!

You are cordially invited to the Academic High School Awards Ceremony on Jan. 29. We will soon be sending you requests for nominations for six awards. Stay tuned!

Quote of the Month

"Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring." —Truman Capote

New member information!

Are you a new or recent UFT member? Make sure you have filled out your membership card, and see these important resources for new members:

Important reminders

Make sure your school distributes and goes over Chancellor's Regulations A-420 and A421 covering verbal and physical abuse.

And here are a few important phone numbers to keep handy during the year:

  • Mandatory Reporters Registry
  • Teachers Retirement System
  • UFT Certification Services

Tools for teaching social studies

Looking for engaging, student-centered lessons with primary sources to boot? In addition to Share My Lesson, check out Stanford University's wonderful site for lessons and resources applicable to United States and Global History.

And speaking of teaching social studies, did you see the recent New York Times op-ed on the debate over how to teach U.S. history? One of our takeaways from this piece is the crucial role that teachers play in helping students to understand our country and the world.

Related Topics: Chapter News