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Sabbatical leaves

New York Teacher

Do you think sabbaticals are just for university professors? Think again!

UFT members who are teachers or other pedagogical staff — including school counselors, social workers and school psychologists — may apply for a sabbatical leave to enhance their teaching skills, restore their health if they are ill or achieve state certification in a shortage area.

All pedagogues are eligible for a one-year study sabbatical after 14 years of service. For your first study sabbatical only, you can claim up to three years of regular substitute service for which salary credit was granted; the rest must be regularly appointed service.

If you are a junior high or high school pedagogue, you can also apply for a six-month study sabbatical for the spring semester only.

After seven years of regularly appointed service, all pedagogues are eligible for a sabbatical leave for restoration of health that lasts for up to six months. All sabbaticals for restoration of health must be approved by the Department of Education’s medical director. If your application is denied, you may go to medical arbitration.

During a study sabbatical, whether six months or a full year, pedagogues earn 70% of their salary. Pedagogues on a six-month health sabbatical earn 60% of their salary; those on a yearlong health sabbatical earn 70% of their salary.

For study sabbaticals, coursework must be rigorous and related to your teaching assignment.

A study sabbatical is an opportunity to dream large. If you have always wanted to study or pursue a research project in another country, this could be your opportunity to do so — but be aware that courses taken in a foreign country must be at a college or university that is accredited in that country and approved by the New York State Education Department. You must include evidence of accreditation with your sabbatical application.

Courses must be taken during normal school hours when teachers would otherwise be at work. Online and weekend courses are not acceptable. If your superintendent does not approve your coursework or research project, you will have one week to resubmit your application.

Among the rules that must be followed for a sabbatical is a requirement that pedagogues must return to their position for one year after a six-month sabbatical and for two years after a one-year sabbatical.

UFT borough offices hold sabbatical workshops to guide prospective applicants.

School secretaries and laboratory specialists and technicians are eligible for health sabbaticals. Those hired before July 1, 1985, may also apply for study sabbaticals.

Teachers who are regularly appointed may apply for a special one-year or six-month sabbatical leave for study to meet certification requirements for a shortage-area license, such as speech improvement, secondary math or high school biology or physics. Any applicant for the special study sabbatical must meet all other requirements for state certification. The only outstanding requirement must be the remaining 16 credits (or fewer) required to achieve state certification.

A minimum of eight credits must be earned during a six-month sabbatical of this type and a minimum of 16 credits must be earned during a one-year sabbatical of this type. A teacher who receives this special sabbatical leave of absence for study must commit to completing state certification in the shortage area and must accept an assignment to teach in the license area for a minimum of two years. There is no requirement regarding years of service for a sabbatical to become certified in a shortage-area license.

See the full list of shortage-area licenses and more detailed information about sabbatical leaves.

Related Topics: Absences and Leaves