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Programs and professional activities

New York Teacher

The DOE-UFT contract’s provisions regarding teaching programs and professional activity assignments give teachers a voice while providing for a more objective selection process.

Program preferences

Each spring, all teachers should receive a program preference sheet to indicate the program (including grade/subject and special education classes) they would like to teach in priority order for the following school year.

Before submitting the preference sheet to the principal, teachers should make a copy of it for their records.

All teachers should ask for assignments in their license area; this is especially important for probationary teachers, who could have their tenure delayed if they teach out of license.

Although some preference sheets may survey teachers about their interest in cluster or compensatory-time positions, cluster positions require a posting and some compensatory-time positions require a school-based option (SBO) vote before the position can be posted. These positions require a separate application to your principal.

You can file a reorganization grievance if you believe your program assignment violates the UFT contract. Reorganization grievances must be filed within two school days of notice of the alleged violation.

Professional activity options

Most secondary school teachers and eight-period-day elementary school teachers are programmed to have one or more professional activity periods. In an eight-period elementary school, teachers should be programmed for one professional activity per week. Middle school and high school teachers are usually programmed for five professional activity periods per week.

By April 15, your school’s chapter leader and principal should meet and consult on the professional activities that will be on the professional activity menu at your school.

Here is the list of acceptable professional activity options specified in Article 7 of the DOE-UFT contract:

  1. Small group instruction (not to exceed 10 students).
  2. One-to-one tutoring.
  3. Adviser for student activities such as clubs, teams or publications.
  4. Student assessment activities (including portfolios, performance tests and Individualized Education Programs).
  5. Professional development/preparing staff development workshops and demonstration lessons.
  6. Common planning time.
  7. Conflict resolution for students.
  8. Cafeteria duty.
  9. Schoolyard duty.
  10. Hallway duty.
  11. A.M. bus duty.
  12. P.M. bus duty.
  13. Homeroom.
  14. Provision of interdisciplinary articulation.
  15. Development of multicultural curriculum.
  16. Development of program to integrate technology into the daily life of the classroom.

Each menu item on the preference sheet should come from this list of professional activity options. A school can only add a new menu item through the SBO process, but it cannot be an additional teaching period.

The professional activity menu must have at least six options, according to an arbitration decision. If you want to participate in an activity not listed on the menu, you can do so with the approval of your principal.

No teacher at any school level should be given a split assignment (more than one professional activity assignment) unless the school chapter conducted an SBO vote for a split professional activity assignment.

Professional activity procedures

If you have a professional period in your teaching program, your principal should give you a preference sheet listing the agreed-upon menu of professional activities. Each spring, teachers will select, in priority order, three activities from the menu they want to participate in for the following school year.

Selection will be based on the established criteria for the requested activity and the availability of the item. If you are not given one of your three choices, you will be asked to select three other activities from the menu.

By the end of the current school year, your principal must notify you in writing about which professional activity you’ve been assigned for the coming school year.

Teachers assigned to homeroom or to a.m. or p.m. bus duty as an administrative duty at another time in the workday may use their professional activity period as an additional preparation period. If you are assigned to an administrative assignment (including lunchroom, hall or yard duty) voluntarily or involuntarily, your principal cannot assign you to any administrative duty the following year unless you voluntarily agree to do it. Principals must make all involuntary administrative assignments on a rotational basis in inverse order of seniority.