Teachers Assigned Chapter Newsletter - December 2016

I hope that you've had a great year so far. I would like to welcome all our new teachers assigned!

I am happy to share our chapter's first newsletter of the year, which is full of important updates and reminders.

I'd also like to announce that we’re planning a teachers assigned meet-and-greet on Thursday, Feb. 2 at UFT headquarters, 52 Broadway, 19th floor, room G. We had a wonderful showing last year, and I hope many of you will join us this time around. Our meet-and-greets are a great way to network with your colleagues, familiarize yourself with what the union does and learn about your union benefits and services. I’ll be sending the registration information in the near future.

Check out more upcoming events and news below.


Sheila Laval-Friedman
Teachers Assigned Chapter Leader

Let's keep in touch!

To build a strong chapter, we need to keep in touch! Please email me your questions and concerns at teacherassigned@uft.org so that I can provide you with resources and information on behalf of the union and the latest updates for our chapter.

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.

Congratulations to Marisol Peña and Michele Ferraro!

Teacher Union Day at the New York Hilton Midtown on Nov. 6 was again inspiring as we honored the contributions that our members have made throughout the public school system.

Congratulations to Marisol Peña and Michele Ferraro, two teachers assigned who were among the Teacher Union Day award recipients. Peña, an educational liaison for the UFT Elementary School Division, received one of the Albert Lee Smallheiser Awards. This award recognizes the work of educators who strive to improve the working conditions of their colleagues.

Ferraro, an educational liaison for the UFT Brooklyn borough office, received one of the Marsh/Raimo Awards. This award is given in recognition of political action.

Teacher Union Day is a commemoration of the Nov. 7, 1960 teacher’s strike, a landmark event in the then-fledgling UFT. In these times, it’s never been more important to show support for your union.

See more photos from Teacher Union Day »

Thank you phone banking

I want to thank all those who participated at phone banks on Oct. 31 at UFT headquarters. Members from our chapter made hundreds of phone calls to get out the vote. (A special shout-out to members from the Peer Intervention Program who showed up in large numbers!)

Review your job posting

I have recently received questions regarding job postings and the responsibilities of various titles. Each teacher assigned position offered by the Department of Education has a position summary and specific duties/responsibilities.

If you have not reviewed the vacancy circular related to your job title since the DOE hired you, I strongly encourage you to do so to get a better understanding of what's expected of you as well as your relationship to other DOE-support structures.

You should also review Article 11 of our contract, which outlines guidelines for assignment as a teacher assigned, hours of service, the work year, sick leave, annual leave and more. To view our contract online, you’ll need to make sure you are signed up on the website.

If you are considering a new assignment, please read the vacancy circular thoroughly before you apply. We cannot guarantee that any adjustments can be made to your responsibilities after you’ve been assigned to a title. If you have any questions regarding your individual position summary or duties, please contact the DOE’s Division of Human Resources and Talent by calling 718-935-4000.

A few checklist items

  • By now you should have received your 2016–17 NYSUT calendar. It contains updated contact information. If you have not yet received yours, please contact me at teacherassigned@uft.org.
  • If you have moved, changed telephone numbers or changed email addresses, please notify the UFT Membership Department by telephone at 212-598-6855.
  • Sign up for text alerts from the United Federation of Teachers! Use this online form.

Understanding the new state certification requirements

During the five-year period starting on July 1, 2016, professionally certified teachers are required to collect a total of 100 professional development hours, now called Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours, by a state-approved provider such as the UFT Teacher Center or the UFT. Members now have to keep their own records. Members should put documentation of workshops they have attended in a CTLE folder.

Permanently certified teachers and professionally certified teachers are also required to register with the State Education Department in the month of their birth. The State Education Department has published this step-by-step guide on the registration process.

For more information about the new certification requirements, you can read the information on the UFT website  and review the chart designed by the UFT certification staff  for specific details.

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.

Professional learning opportunities for teachers

The DOE After School Professional Development Program (ASPDP) offers teachers high-quality, low-cost P-credit courses that can be applied to their salary differential as well as the New York State requirement of 100 hours of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE).

All courses are aligned with the Common Core standards and the Danielson Framework for Teaching. The courses are offered online and in-person. Choose from over 130 courses covering a variety of content and pedagogy. These courses are taught by DOE instructors as well as nonprofit organizations and cultural institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, Berklee College of Music and the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

For course information and to register, see the ASPDP website. For more information, email the DOE’s After School Professional Development Program at ASPDP@schools.nyc.gov. To receive regular updates, join the ASPDP email list.

Know your rights about special investigations

The Office of Special Investigations is responsible for handling allegations of verbal abuse and corporal punishment. When an allegation of verbal abuse or corporal punishment is made, the supervisor of the accused individual must immediately report the charge to the Office of Special Investigations within 24 hours. At that time, the supervisor will be advised whether to conduct an investigation or await an investigation by the Office of Special Investigations. When the supervisor is directed to investigate, the office provides "guidance and instruction" about how to do so.

Once an allegation of verbal abuse or corporal punishment has been made and an investigation has begun, those conducting a school-based investigation have 10 working days to complete their inquiries and issue an A-420 or an A-421 report with their conclusions on whether verbal abuse or corporal punishment took place. You have the right to union representation when questioned as part of an investigation, and the union strongly urges you to exercise that right. A-420 and A-421 regulations also require that investigators provide all witness statements to the accused.

Before any disciplinary action may take place and regardless of who conducts the investigation, the teacher or paraprofessional accused of verbal abuse or corporal punishment has the right to a hearing, with representation, to address the charges. The accused individual must receive at least 48 hours written notice of such hearing. (Before the latest circular, there were no firm time limits or requirements for advance notice of hearings.) The accused employee also has the right to see and transcribe all witness statements. Statements may be redacted of identifiable information if the accused employee does not sign a privacy acknowledgment.

All accused employees and their union representatives present at the disciplinary conference are entitled to see and retain copies of all witness statements prior to administration of any and all disciplinary action.

When an investigation determines the staff member has not committed corporal punishment or verbal abuse or the evidence does not support the allegations, the staff member must be notified, in writing.

If you are accused of corporal punishment or verbal abuse, contact your UFT chapter leader and your UFT district representative immediately for guidance.

For more information, see the guide to investigations »

Guidelines for letters in your file

If you receive a letter in your file, please note:

  • Signing the letter indicates that you have only seen the material, not that you agree with it.
  • You are entitled to two copies of the letter; one to sign and return, and one to keep for your records.
  • You are entitled to a reasonable timeframe to read the letter before signing and returning it.
  • You are entitled to write a rebuttal to the letter at any time and have that response attached to the letter in the file. You should notify me as your chapter leader if you receive a letter to your file. It is important to discuss your response to the letter with me and have me review it before you submit it.
  • You are entitled to remove letters from the file that are more than three years old if disciplinary charges do not follow

For more information about receiving a letter in your file, visit the Know Your Rights section of the UFT website.

Knowing your rights for a snow day

I want to remind you of the DOE’s longstanding policy on snow days, which the union disagrees with and is seeking to change:

“Unless the chancellor instructs otherwise, all central offices, and the offices of District 75 and 79, must remain open for regular hours on days when schools are authorized by the chancellor to close or open late due to citywide emergency conditions or major stormy weather as staff must be in a position to provide essential information to parents and others.”

Teachers assigned who cannot make it to work on a snow day will have a day deducted from their sick banks.

I wanted you to have accurate information as you make decisions about reporting to work in the event of a snow day during the winter season. Please email me at teacherassigned@uft.org if you have any questions or concerns.

Tax deductible benefits for educators

I am aware of your concerns regarding Teacher’s Choice, and I will continue to bring this issue to the forefront, but in the interim, you should know that tax deductions are available to you as an educator and an employee of the Department of Education.

The IRS allows eligible educators to deduct up to $250 ($500 if married, filing jointly and both spouses are educators, but not more than $250 each) of any unreimbursed expenses you paid in 2016 for books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment and supplementary materials you use in the classroom. For courses in health and physical education, expenses for supplies are qualified expenses only if they are related to athletics. The educator expense is an “adjustment to gross income” so you can use it if you use the standard deduction or itemize on your tax return.

See the post on UFT.org about tax benefits for educators »

Related Topics: Chapter News
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