Thursday, April 10, 2008

UFT Weekly Update -- April 4, 2008

Join school psychologists telling the mayor’s ed panel: “Lighten our load!”
April 14 is the date school psychologists will turn out – along with members who want to support them – at the Queens meeting of the mayorally-controlled Panel for Educational Policy to let the panel know how unreasonable workloads have been overburdening them since last July’s reorganization of special education. We need a good turnout to drive home the point. The panel will meet at Frank Sinatra School for the Arts, 30-20 Thomson Avenue in Long Island City, from 6 to 8 p.m. Sign up to speak by 5:45 p.m. Check out the flyer. Please let Ann Englesbe at know how many members from your school plan to attend the PEP meeting.

Please also urge any school psychologist who hasn’t already done so to file a workload dispute form if they want relief. If we don’t get enough disputes filed, the window of opportunity to resolve this issue will close. Here are the guidelines for filing workload disputes.

Union takes “better-safe-than-sorry” approach to PCBs in caulk
We understand the Daily News investigative article on PCBs in schools is scheduled for publication this coming Monday. Staff members in your school may have questions or concerns about the exterior caulking around the windows and doors of the building, especially if there has been or is a window removal and replacement project.

We are working with the city Department of Education’s Division of School Facilities and the School Construction Authority to ensure their timely response to address these concerns.

Please read and refer members to the UFT PCBs in Caulk fact sheet on the UFT Web site. Contact your district representative or borough health and safety representative if you have questions or concerns about your school.

Take a bus trip to Pennsylvania to support Hillary Clinton
The crucial primary in the delegate-rich state of Pennsylvania is April 22, and UFTers will be on the ground Saturday, April 19 to support the AFT-endorsed Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. We expect the day to include member-to-member door-knocking and possibly a rally, preparations for Election Day, or other efforts to make the union’s support for Hillary visible. Buses leave 52 Broadway, the Brooklyn UFT Office and the Bronx UFT Office at 7 a.m. and return at about 7 p.m. A breakfast snack and a boxed lunch will be provided. To sign up, contact Jason Goldman in the Political Action Department at 212-598-7742.

Apply now for summer school jobs
The Department of Education’s Division of Human Resources began accepting online applications for summer session openings on April 2. To apply for a position, go here and click on the hyperlink in the “Time Sensitive Information” section. Only online applications will be processed; the DOE is not accepting paper applications. Applications must be submitted by May 7 to preserve applicants’ retention rights and for applications to be considered timely. After applying online, members should print out a hard copy of their application and write down their application confirmation number. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Special Representative Amy Arundell at

Your chance to “Speakout” in the New York Teacher
Got something on your mind that you’d like to share with your colleagues? Is there an issue in your school, an educational priority, a cause for celebration or a source of constant aggravation that you just know other educators would enjoy, sympathize with, or want to know about? Send an idea for the “Speakout” column of the New York Teacher or write it up in about 800 words and email it to Include some brief information about where and what you teach (or taught) and how you can be contacted. Please let members in your school know about this writing opportunity, too.


And on don’t miss:
UFT calls for comprehensive solution to school violence

South Bronx site chosen for Green Dot charter school

UFT on state Legislature’s clarification on tenure


To Do:
Only a week remains for teachers to take the UFT’s brief online survey about assessment-related paperwork, test prep and ARIS. We need as many teachers as possible to take the UFT’s “Survey on Assessment-Related Paperwork and Test Prep.” This brief online survey is about assessment-related paperwork, test prep and ARIS. Please encourage teachers to go to and click on the link to the survey in the Action Alert section. It only takes a few minutes. The more teachers who fill it out, the more ammunition we have in our fight against excessive testing.

Remind any teachers or paras who have not already done so to complete and mail their annual DOE school survey. Surveys count for a portion of the School Progress Report grade. All surveys must be returned by April 18. Teachers who have not received the learning environment survey should call 1-800-690-8603. They should request a barcode so they can complete the survey online at the DOE Web site.

We need as many concrete examples as possible from school-based members of how budget cuts are hurting our kids. Click on Please give your name, grade level and school in these emails so we can follow up if need be, but rest assured that we will protect your confidentiality in any discussions with the DOE.

Our 2006 contract provided that the city would join us in forming a paperwork reduction committee. Our efforts have borne fruit in a directive from Chancellor Klein to principals in the Principal’s Weekly urging a that unnecessary paperwork be discontinued or replaced “with new, more efficient tools.” If excessive paperwork is a problem in your school, click on the link above, print out the Principal’s Weekly excerpt, and bring it to your next Consultation Committee meeting. Cite pertinent specific examples that the chancellor gives, such as “voluminous portfolios built for the sole purpose of Promotion in Doubt.” If the issue remains unresolved, contact your DR.

Have your members shared their views on the UFT’s Grapevine, our online school review database? The Open Market Transfer period begins April 15, and now is the time to review those comments and update them if necessary. Encourage members who haven’t participated before to add their views, so potential colleagues can make informed decisions before transferring.


For your information:
New school, small school openings: The DOE has posted openings for new schools and recently-opened smalls schools on its Web site. The site includes instructions for applying for the various positions and a list of the schools opening as of September, 2008.

Open Market transfer period: The Open Market Transfer Plan period begins April 15. A way to “vote with your feet” if you are unhappy with your school, the plan offers all pedagogues access to job openings throughout the city. The Open Market Q & A on the UFT Web site offers more information about the process.

AFT ads bring money for your chapter: Running an ad from the AFT+ Newsletter Reimbursement Program in your monthly chapter newsletter can bring your chapter $20 (or more for bigger schools) each month. First you will have to register with AFT LeaderNet (say that you are a chapter leader) so that you can get a username and password. Then you’re on your way to setting up an account and earning money for your chapter.

Camp scholarships: The 2008 UFT Summer Camp Program, conducted in cooperation with the NYC Central Labor Council, is offering children of UFT members a $100 scholarship to summer camps. The scholarships will be paid directly to the camps; members must separately register their children at a camp. Applications and more information are available at the Central Labor Council Web site. Go here to access this material. Completed applications should be mailed by May 30 to Briget Anne Rein, Special Representative Legislation/ Political Action, UFT, 52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004.

WTC Visitor Center volunteers: The Tribute WTC Visitor Center is looking for volunteers to conduct walking tours near the World Trade Center site. It is seeking teachers that worked in NYC on Sept. 11, 2001 and can share how they experienced and discussed the event with their students. Volunteers will be trained to provide an hour-long tour to visitors, adults and students from around the world. Training consists of one weekend session, followed by individually-scheduled training sessions. Volunteers work a minimum of 6 to 8 hours a month. Contact Rachael at 212-422-3520, ext. 118, or

Green Dot union charter school positions: The Green Dot New York Charter School in District 8, founded in partnership with the UFT, is hiring. Positions open are English, mathematics, science, social studies, Spanish, special education, art, physical education, and ELL teachers; guidance counselors; school aides; school secretary; and assistant principal. Email resume, cover letter, and evidence of certification to Please indicate the position for which you are applying in the email “subject” line. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

55/25 Q & A online; informational session scheduled: Need guidance on the new 55/25 retirement plan? Check out our 55/25 Q & A, which can be accessed on by clicking the fuchsia “55/25 Update” button on the home page. There is still one informational meeting to come where members can get their questions answered by UFT pension experts.

Claim your educator’s deduction: K-12 teachers and other educators who have worked in a school for at least 900 hours in 2007 are able to claim a tax deduction of up to $250 on their federal tax returns for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses. This includes books, supplies, computer equipment (including related software and services), other equipment, and supplementary materials you use in the classroom. The deduction does not need to be itemized and can be made on the 1040 E-Z form. If you qualify, put your deduction on line 23 of Form 1040. Consult your tax adviser for individual questions about your eligibility.

Environmental Health and Safety link: Now linkable from the home page of under the heading “Resources for UFT Members,” our revamped Environmental Health and Safety Department Web section provides information and contacts for workshops, programs and training to avoid hazards and ensure your right to a safe and healthy workplace. It offers such links as information on Injury in the Line of Duty, Workers’ Compensation, Building and Environmental Health, and Smoking Cessation.


In the News:
Lower class size, higher results: Recent research suggests that students feel the difference in smaller class size, and that it translates to higher achievement, reports USA Today. Observers noted that children in smaller classes focused more, misbehaved less, and enjoyed more interaction with their teachers. Interestingly, these results were independent of whether or not teachers modified their teaching style after the class size was lowered.

Mandated tutoring falls short: Tutoring is mandated for students of struggling schools by the No Child Left Behind law, but that doesn’t mean students will always utilize it or that the tutoring will be effective, according to USA Today. A study done in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Milwaukee showed that most students don’t sign up for tutoring. Even among those who did, scores did not improve, leading to questions about the quality of the tutoring.

Sex and the county: Greene County, Georgia school officials decided after a community outcry to postpone their plans to segregate all 2,000 of its students into all-girl or all-boy schools according to the Associated Press. Instead, they opted to do something new and different first -- consult with the parents, teachers, and staff members. Greene County is part of a mini-trend. Nationally, 366 public schools have either single-gender schools or single-gender classrooms within schools. Federal law allows such gender separation, as long as parents have a choice between that and coeducation.


Saturday, April 5, 1-4 p.m., Marking the 30th anniversary of the murder of civil rights and nonviolent antiwar activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the NYC chapter of U.S. Labor Against the War is sponsoring a forum on The Cost of the War in Iraq to U.S. Workers. It’s at SEIU Local 32 B-J, 101 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue, one block north of Canal Street. Take A, E, C and #1 trains.). Topics include the cost of the war on domestic programs, union contracts and labor rights. Open mike for participants to tell their own stories.

Tuesday, April 8: Learn to manage classrooms through creating productive and engaging learning environments. The High School Workshops are offering “Engaging Students Cooperatively” on April 8, 4:15 to 6:15 p.m., at 50 Broadway. There is a $5 registration fee. Call Gregg Lundahl at 212-598-9281 for registration.

Friday, April 11: The Professional Staff Congress’s series Labor Goes to the Movies continues its theme Cinema and War with “In the Year of the Pig” on Friday, April, 11. All films are at 6 p.m. at the PSC Union Hall, 61 Broadway, 16th floor. There is a $2 suggested donation. Light refreshments will be served. Coming up on May 9: “Paths of Glory.”

Saturday, April 12: The 31st annual all-day conference and luncheon of the Science Council of New York will take place on Saturday April 12, 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Stuyvesant High School. Teachers who attend will receive a certificate of participation so that they can receive professional development credit.

Wednesday, April 16: The next Delegate Assembly will be Wednesday, April 16.

Wednesday, April 30: With the open market transfer plan enrollment period beginning April 15, the High School Workshops are offering “Making the Open Market Work for You” on April 30, 4:15 to 6:15 p.m., at 50 Broadway. There is a $5 registration fee. Call Gregg Lundahl at 212-598-9281 for registration.

Thursday, May 1: Want to make sense and keep track of all the news sources found online from newspapers to magazines to blogs? In the workshop Go Paperless! The Internet as a News Source, teachers will find out how to use the Internet for accurate news and explore live broadcasts and the radio world online. We promise that your use of the Internet will change immediately! This workshop is designed for both middle school and high school teachers, and is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 52 Broadway. To register or to get more information, call Sue Picicci at 212-598-9282 or email There is a $5 fee. Refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, May 1: Educators are invited to a free preview of the Sportsmuseum of America at 26 Broadway. It’s an open house starting at 4 p.m., with the last entry at 8 p.m. RSVP for your free ticket.

Saturday, May 10: The UFT Spring Education Conference will be at the New York Hilton Hotel. The deadline for registration is Friday, April 18. Registration coupons are in the New York Teacher and the cost is $30 per person. We hope you will join us for what promises to be an exciting day of exhibits and workshops. The day wraps up with our Gala Luncheon and presentation of the John Dewey Award. If you need further information please email Samantha Mark at

March through May: Materials for the Arts offers professional development workshops through May 8 on a variety of topics. The workshops include “Introduction to Bookmaking,” “Book Binding,” and “Fabric Journals.” Each workshop costs $10.


Professional Committees
UFT Professional Committees offer a wide range of workshops, presentations, and exchanges enabling all members to take an active part in their professional growth. Unless indicated, meetings are at UFT Headquarters at 52 Broadway. Check lobby for location. For further information contact us at 212-598-7772.

ATSS/UFT (Assn. of Teachers of SS)

Thursday, April 10, 8:30 a.m., Media Literacy Workshop.
Friday, April 11, 4:30 p.m., Women: A Global Force.
Friday, April 18, 4 p.m., Executive Board Meeting.
ELAC/UFT (English Language Arts Council)

Wednesday, April 30, 4:30 pm, Poetry of Love.
Humane Education

Sunday, May 4, 11:15 a.m., A Field Trip to Animal Care & Control’s Adoption Center.
NYCAFLT/UFT (NYC Assn. of Foreign Language Teachers)

Saturday, April 5, 9:30 a.m., Spring 2008 Professional Development Workshops.
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT

Wednesday, April 9, 4 p.m., Classroom Music and the Special Learner…
NYC Dance Educators/UFT

Wednesday, April 16, 4:30 p.m., Membership Meeting.
Outdoor-Environmental Education

Saturday, April 12, 8 a.m., 31st Annual SCONYC Conference at Stuyvesant HS.

Friday, April 11, 4 p.m., Open Mike Poetry.

Friday, April 11, 7:15 p.m., Demo Derby at NYU.

Wednesday, April 30, 4:30 p.m., General Meeting.
Editor: Paul Schickler

Contributors include: Amy Arundell, LeRoy Barr, Ellie Engler, Richard Farkas, Mike Hirsch, Nyree McCray, Deidre McFadyen, Michael Mulgrew, Susan Picicci, Chris Procter, Ann Rosen, Howard Solomon and Michael Spielman.


Post a Comment

<< Home