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VES Consultation Meeting Minutes: Oct. 1, 2015

Date: Thursday, Oct. 1
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Location: 40 First Avenue, Manhattan

In attendance were:
Vincent Pedulla, UFT VES Chapter Leader; Milton Williams; Assistant Chapter Leader; and Ester Denis, ADA paraprofessional and recording secretary.

Issues discussed:

  • Scheduling of consultation meetings. Monthly consultation meetings were planned for the rest of the year. The tentative dates for consultation meetings are: Nov. 4, Dec. 2, Jan. 6, Feb. 3, March 2, April 6, May 4 and June 1.
  • Establishing a committee for planning staff development. Areas that were considered to be represented in the committee were: 3R classroom teachers, corticol vision impairement teachers, high school support teachers of the visually impaired, teachers who work with multiply impaired students, the staff developer, paras and the supervisors. All aspects of the various staff needs should be represented. The selection criteria will be revisited.
  • Establish a sunshine committee for planning celebrations and gifts for special occasions and honoring staff. Attendees discussed the possibility of creating a committee for end-term parties, life events, retirement, etc. Selection criteria will be revisited.
  • Annual budget. A request was made to review the annual budget to consider possible spending related to hiring new staff and maintaining equipment. The format of the budget was considered to ensure accessibility of all the funding sources.
  • Dissemination of a seniority list. Attendees discussed how to provide staff with access to the current seniority list.
  • Caseload creation. We discussed what criteria will be used when a supervisor assigns a caseload to a teacher of the visually impaired. It was suggested by the director to review current caseloads on the Educational Vision Services database to survey the current assignments.
  • School-based options. Current SBOs were discussed and the future vote in June was considered. This topic will be revisited.
  • Supervisor availability. Attendees discussed staff concerns regarding supervisors not responding when called upon for issues in the field. The director stated that supervisors should have a 24-hour response time for every email.
  • EVS programmatic equipment and ordering. The question was raised for the related concern of staff on obtaining equipment for general use in Educational Vision Services instruction. This issue will be revisited in the future.
  • SESIS time. Expressed staff concern that there is not enough time to complete SESIS attendance in the one allotted period per week. The current solution presented by the director is to communicate with supervisors when SESIS time is not enough to keep up with caseload. Teachers who have a higher number of sessions should also speak to their supervisors and review their schedule to allow for enough SESIS time to stay current. Staff should not work on SESIS after hours. This was in response to the arbitration decision regarding the use of SESIS from home.
  • The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. at the same location: 400 First Avenue, 7th floor.