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School coverages

In the past our chapter has received some special education complaints about speech teachers/providers doing class coverages. Requiring speech teachers to cancel mandated therapy sessions to cover another teacher’s class deprives students of services and should be reported on a special education complaint. In certain circumstances, it may also be grieved.

According to the teachers’ contract we are to be “treated equitably” when assigned school coverages on a preparation period. “Treated equitably” means that if you are told to cover classes during this period you are paid for the period lost and that the entire staff is in the rotation pool. It does not mean that you alone or you and the SETSS or resource room teacher make up the entire pool. This is a misconception perpetuated by some of our principals. There are at least two chancellor’s memos that address the coverage issue.

According to these memos, related service providers cannot be used for class coverage or other duties during any period in which they are scheduled to provide mandated services, including periods when they are providing additional service in lieu of preparation periods. Nor can related service providers be required to change scheduled service appointments to accommodate coverage needs or other duties in the school building. Since there is no one else in the school that can provide speech therapy, it is important that you let your administrator and school chapter leader know of your rights. If you are still being abused, reach out to your speech supervisor. Call the speech chapter hotline at 212-598-7774 if the problem is not correctly immediately. Make sure you also file a special education complaint.