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A clarification on teachers' professional activity and preparation periods

This information, which was communicated to principals in December 2018 via Principals' Weekly, clarifies teachers' contractual rights regarding their professional activity and preparation periods. 

All teachers with full programs will have at least five preparation periods per week. Preparation periods are used for “unassigned professional work” determined by the teacher. Preparation periods are used for “professional preparation time in such a manner as to enable [teachers] to further their professional work for the purpose of their greater classroom effectiveness.” Preparation periods shall be used for professional job-related work which may include, but is not limited to “preparation for classes, preparation of teaching material, presentation of or attendance at demonstration lessons, participation in teacher training, and conferences with the principal, with other teachers, with guidance counselors or with parents."

During the first year of employment of a teacher who has not previously worked as a teacher, two preparation periods per week shall be designated as “professional support periods” and shall be used in a manner directed by the school administration (e.g. observation of classes conducted by experienced teachers; common planning; or consultation with mentors).

Professional activity periods

Professional activity periods are periods during which teachers perform various instructional, professional development, and/or administrative duties. In high schools and middle schools, teachers receive five professional periods per week. In elementary schools on an eight period day all teachers receive one professional period per week.

Professional activity periods provide an enormous resource with which to offer additional intervention time for struggling students, enrichment opportunities in the form of new student clubs and activities, professional development for staff and also to address any problems with safety and disruption by adding the presence of teachers in hallways, cafeterias or school yards.

The teachers’ contract contains a menu of professional activities (see below) for teachers during their professional activity periods. Schools may add activities to this menu through the SBO process, In addition, principals may agree with an individual teacher(s) that they will perform activities that are not on the menu. Each spring, as per the collective bargaining agreement, principals, in consultation with the UFT chapter leader, will determine how many positions are available for each menu item (which may be zero), as well as the responsibilities, and qualifications required for each activity. Teachers may only be assigned to one professional activity.

The menu will be from among the following:

  • Small group instruction (not to exceed 10 students)
  • One to one tutoring
  • Advise student activities such as clubs, teams or publications
  • Perform student assessment activities (including portfolios, performance tests, IEPs, ECLAS, etc.)
  • Professional development/prepare staff development workshops and demonstration lessons
  • Common planning time
  • Conflict resolution for students
  • Cafeteria Duty (administrative activity)
  • Schoolyard Duty (administrative activity)
  • Hallway Duty (administrative activity)
  • AM Bus Duty (administrative activity)
  • PM Bus Duty (administrative activity)
  • Homeroom (administrative activity)
  • Provide interdisciplinary articulation
  • Develop multi-cultural curriculum
  • Develop programs to integrate technology into the daily life of the classroom

All teachers (including ATR teachers) should be given professional activity assignments (see process in Article 7). Teachers in compensatory time positions created pursuant to the SBO process will continue to do the work of their comp time position during their professional periods pursuant to a plan that must be presented to and approved by the principal at the beginning of the term. Athletic coaches shall use professional periods to further the work of their coaching activity based on a plan that must be presented to and approved by the principal at the beginning of the term. Chapter Leaders in middle and high schools are relieved from professional activity assignment.