Thursday, October 02, 2008

UFT Weekly Update -- September 26 2008 Issue

UFT tells DOE: Use ATRs and save city funding
At a news conference on Sept. 25, UFT President Randi Weingarten blasted the DOE for spending millions to hire new teachers while excessed veterans work as substitutes awaiting permanent posts. Citing the “Let Us Teach” theme of the affected educators, she said 1,400 qualified educators in the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) are being denied permanent teaching positions because the department did not manage its personnel situation properly. A rock-solid job security clause in the contract does not allow the DOE to lay off any ATRs. Weingarten proposed an immediate hiring freeze at the central DOE and at schools for any license areas where there are people in excess and available for placement, a redeployment of teachers and other excessed personnel in the ATR pool, and a recertification program for excessed personnel in additional license areas so that they are available to fill vacancies as they arise. “By using the ATR teachers to fill vacancies in the way we are proposing – particularly during this period of fiscal uncertainty – millions of dollars can be saved and thousands of kids can be served,” she said.

Sign up for a UFT Saturday bus trip for Obama to Pennsylvania
The stakes in this year’s national elections are enormous. Please join and recruit other members of your chapter for the UFT bus trips to Pennsylvania to help elect Barack Obama. Every Saturday from Oct. 4 until Election Day, the UFT, in conjunction with the AFT and AFL-CIO, will get on the bus to Philadelphia or Scranton for a day of door-to-door outreach on behalf of Obama. On Oct. 4, 11, 18, and 25 and Nov. 1 you can join a “labor walk” where we do union member-to-union member door-knocking in this pivotal battleground state as our union-endorsed candidates make their final campaign sprint for the White House. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For more information, see the flyer.

Communicate on communicable diseases
If there is a suspected case of communicable disease at your school, chapter leaders should notify the principal and/or school nurse. You should also contact the health and safety representatives at your borough office. The UFT Safety and Health Department will follow-up with the appropriate agencies including the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene/ DOE Office of School Health. The UFT Safety and Health Department will prepare a memo for distribution to your staff where appropriate. The Sept. 23 Principal’s Weekly issued the following protocol for principals for addressing communicable diseases in schools: “If there is a suspected case of a communicable disease at your school, you should immediately contact your school nurse or nursing supervisor. The nursing staff can provide advice and contact Health Department physicians when appropriate. You should also call your ISC’s health director or CFN liaison. The Office of School Health must confirm the diagnosis of a communicable disease or illness before you take any other specific action. Not every communicable disease or illness poses a public health threat or requires a letter home to parents.”
Parking agreement appeals process available to you
The UFT and the city have set up the appeals processes agreed to in the Aug. 26 parking agreement. If you and your principal cannot agree on a method of allocating parking permits in your school, if your principal has not consulted with you, or if your principal is taking permits off the top and leaving the rest for UFT members without your consent, send an e-mail as soon as possible to to appeal this violation of the parking agreement. If your school wants to appeal the number of permits that it was issued or the number of spots that it was allotted, you may send the appeal to the city at Remember that the principal and the chapter leader are responsible for divvying up the parking permits for the entire school community, including administrators, custodians and District 75 staff. They have an obligation to treat fairly everyone in the school building. If you have any questions, please contact your district rep.


And on don’t miss:
City Hall calls for more budget cuts

UFT proposes steps to save classrooms from city budget cuts

TRS Investment Funds well-positioned to weather market turmoil

NYSUT Member Benefits Trust monitors financial situation of AIG


To Do:
We are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein to eliminate school overcrowding and give our children the small classes they need to learn and grow by creating A Better Capital Plan. You can help by participating in the UFT’s fax campaign. It’s really easy — just click the link: Send a fax to the mayor and the chancellor.
Help us recruit volunteers for the UFT Member-to-Member Get-Out-the-Vote Phone Banking. Beginning Oct. 14 and running through Election Day, UFT members will be making calls to other UFT members from Monday through Thursday between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each day. from every borough office. Contact your borough office to sign up.
Remember to post the School TONE poster you received on your UFT bulletin board. The poster marks the launch of the second phase of the UFT Safety and Health Department’s “Safe Secure Schools” campaign. The union can provide a number of direct services, and the poster advises members to ask you, their chapter leader, to request these services if needed. If your school would like assistance, please contact your district rep or your borough safety rep.
Now is the time to show our newest members just how supportive and helpful the union can be as they launch this most challenging of careers. Some UFT Offices are still hosting events providing opportunities to new members to learn and ask questions about, among other things, salary, pension, health benefits and UFT Welfare Fund benefits, licensing and certification, and planning and managing effective instruction. Encourage new members to visit the New Teacher page and register for one of these orientations.
Make sure that your school has a SAVE Room and a removal process as part of the Safety Plan. (Chancellor's Reg A443 1.05MB). Please contact your borough safety liaisons and district reps for technical assistance.
We need you to enroll more members in COPE and encourage them to vote. The packets you received include a list of who in your school contributes to COPE and who doesn’t, COPE enrollment forms, and voter registration forms. Send in all the completed COPE cards in the self-addressed stamped envelope in your packet. Be sure to mail in any completed voter registration forms to the Board of Elections by Oct. 10 so that members are eligible to vote in the Nov. 4 presidential election.
Print out and share the poster for the Oct. 19 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. Walkers in each borough can join UFT teams, and contact information is on the poster.


For your information:
Weingarten TV appearance: Randi Weingarten is appearing on “In the Life,” a news magazine show that airs documentary stories from the gay experience. The show is tentatively scheduled to air at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5 on local PBS stations.

Election ’08 on your resource for personal involvement: The Election ’08 section of the UFT Web site is a one-stop source on the Obama-Biden campaign. Whether you are on the fence or want talking points for your on-the-fence friends, you’ll find links to speeches, articles and issues. Looking for an Obama event near you? Ready to volunteer? It’s all there. The election is less than six weeks away. Change starts with you.

New Teacher Handbook: The most recent, updated edition of the New Teacher Handbook is now online. There’s so much for a new teacher to know. That’s why it’s great that so much has been gathered in one spot on the UFT Web site. The New Teacher Handbook has information on – and handy links to – such subjects as mentoring, health benefits, salary, and meeting professional requirements. It also explains the important role that the union plays in their careers and reminds them to utilize that most important resource, you, their chapter leader. Let your newest members know that the New Teacher Handbook is now only a click away.

UFT Teacher Center Mini-Grant applications online: The UFT Teacher Center Mini-Grant application for 2008-2009 is now available on the Teacher Center’s Web site. Just click on the Mini-Grant icon to access links to the application and the flyer on upcoming informational meetings. The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 31. Please download the application and print, post and spread the word about this wonderful opportunity with all members of your school community. A mini-grant provides opportunities for designing and implementing activities, services and programs for students or professional development opportunities with colleagues. Existing programs can be expanded or new ones created. Funding up to $2,500 is awarded to the educator.

File grievances online: Remember that chapter leaders must now go to the UFT Web site to file all Step 1 grievances on behalf of members in their chapter. You must be logged in to the UFT Web site to have access to the private chapter leader section, where the grievance form will be housed under the heading “Grievance Briefcase.” If you have not already done so, you must also sign up for an account at and verify your union membership on the profile page of your account. If you have any questions about the new online grievance process, contact the grievance liaison/contract coordinator in your borough office.

Speakout: Got something on your mind that you’d like to share with your colleagues? Is there an issue in your school, an educational priority, or a cause for celebration that other educators should know about? Send an idea for the “Speakout” column of the New York Teacher or write it up in about 750 words and e-mail 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.

In the News:
Students flee DC schools: Is it the popularity of charter schools, parent unease at the upheavals in Superintendent Michelle Rhee's tenure, or some other factor that has caused the enrollment in the Washington, D.C. schools to drop 8 percent in one year, wonders the Washington Post. Gentrification and migration to the suburbs are other possible factors in a city where the Rhee and the teacher's union have struggled over the direction of a new contract. Meanwhile, Rhee disputes the 8 percent figure, despite the fact that it came from her own spokesperson.

0 = 50: Not everyone is happy with a Pittsburgh schools policy making the lowest grade possible on any test or assignment a 50, says the Pittsburgh-Gazette. The policy, long on the books but not consistently enforced until now, gives struggling students a chance to catch up and not get discouraged, proponents explain. Others, however, object to the idea that a student can “walk in the door, breathe the air and get 50 percent for that.”

The V word: North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Beverly Perdue (D) must sense voter antipathy to vouchers, since she’s hung the issue around the neck of her opponent like an albatross, reports the News-Observer. Lt. Gov. Perdue has attacked Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R) on the issue in campaign ads, and it may be having an effect. McCrory has recently talked of limiting any voucher plan he would institute.


Wednesday, Oct. 1: There will be a meeting of Lesbian & Gay Teachers, 6 to 8 p.m., at the LGBT Center, 208 West 13th St., Manhattan. E-mail:; phone: 212-933-4544 or 646-660-3303.

Thursday, Oct. 2: Come to a new teacher orientation for high school and District 24 teachers, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., at Corner, 71-17 Grand Ave., Masphet, NY. New teachers will receive a UFT flash drive, lanyard and a New Teacher Handbook. For more information, contact

Thursday, Oct. 2: High school students: Celebrate the 80th birthday of Elie Wiesel 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y. This free event will feature readings, personal reflections, and musical performances. Guests will include Steven Spielberg, Mario Cuomo, Colin Powell, and Yo-Yo Ma. For more information or to register, e-mail Jose Ortiz at

Thursday, Oct. 2 and Monday, Oct. 6: Sabbatical workshops will be held at the Staten Island borough office at 4 p.m. RSVP to 718-605-1400.

Thursday, Oct. 2 and Tuesday, October 7: In Lesson Plans and Observations, review the elements of a model lesson by learning how to plan for lessons, formulate questions and encourage student participation. Leo Casey, Vice President of Academic High Schools, will lead this two-part workshop, which is open to both middle school and high school teachers. The workshop is scheduled from 4:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at 50 Broadway, Room B. To register or to get more information, you can call Gregg Lundahl at 212-598-9281 (high schools) or contact Sue Picicci (middle schools) at 212-598-9282 or e-mail There is a $20 fee. Refreshments will be provided.

Saturday, Oct. 4: Turn your classroom into a class act! Learn how to enliven and deepen classroom subjects through theater games and improvisation. The event, at 50 Broadway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., is for high school or middle school teachers. Call Gregg Lundahl at 212-598-9281 to reserve a spot in this workshop.

Saturday, Oct. 4: The UFT’s second in a series of Classroom Management workshops will be at 52 Broadway, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aimed specifically at middle school teachers, it is titled Cooperative Learning/Team Building/Classroom Management. You will learn strategies to promote student learning while maintaining classroom discipline across all content areas. Gain knowledge of strong teaching tools for immediate classroom use. There is a $20 registration fee, payable to JHS Conference, and a light breakfast will be served. Materials will also be distributed. For more information, contact Sue Picicci at 212-598-9282 or

Saturday, Oct. 4: In Cooperative Learning/Team Building/Classroom Management, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 52 Broadway, learn to use cooperative learning strategies to promote student learning while maintaining classroom discipline. Gain knowledge of teaching tools for immediate use in your classroom across all content areas. This workshop was specifically designed for the middle school teacher. To register or to get more information, call Sue Picicci at 212-598-9282 or e-mail There is a $20 fee. A light breakfast will be provided.

Saturday, Oct. 4: POSTPONEMENT - The Middle School Cooperative Learning/Team Building/Classroom Management originally scheduled for Oct. 4 has been postponed. It will be rescheduled for the spring. Those teachers who enrolled will be advised of the new date. For information, call Sue Picicci at 212-598 9282 or e-mail

Saturday, Oct. 4: The Instructional Network for Paraprofessionals hosts Reaching & Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Queens borough` office. Increase your awareness and understanding of specific learning disabilities on student learning and their impact on classroom behaviors. Examine the impact of frustration, anxiety and tension in the classroom on students with learning disabilities. Develop strategies to alleviate the behavioral and learning challenges of students with learning disabilities. Receive resources for classroom use and a trainee stipend. To register print out the flyer.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: Presidential Debate Watch Parties, 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. On Oct. 7, the two presidential candidates will hold their second debate of the 2008 election. Each of the borough offices and the central office will host debate watch parties that evening. There will be refreshments for everyone.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: Join a UFT Child Care Providers ACS Rally 11:30 a.m. at City Hall. Take action with elected officials, fellow providers, and UFT members to demand a rate increase from ACS. For information, call 212-598-9288 or call ACORN at 718-246-7900, ext. 270.

Tuesday, Oct. 7: A Maternity/Childcare Workshop will be held at the Brooklyn borough office 4 to 6 p.m. Light refreshments will be served, and reduced parking is available after 2:00 PM at the Edison Parking Systems lot in the Renaissance Plaza Marriott Hotel with UFT validation only. To register, call the borough office at 718-852-4900, Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 13: Come on a golf outing with the UFT at 11 a.m. at the Cedarbrook Country Club, 32 Oak Lane, Old Brookville, NY 11545. Proceeds will benefit the UFT Disaster Relief Fund. The $225 cost includes golf & dinner. Dinner only, $100. Breakfast and barbecue lunch will be served. Make checks payable to UFT Disaster Relief Fund Golf Outing and mail to Richard Farkas, Middle School VP, UFT, 52 Broadway, NY NY 10004, Attn: Golf Outing. You can print the flyer from the Web site.

Wednesday, Oct. 15: The African Heritage Committee will meet 4:30 p.m., Classroom A, 2nd floor, 50 Broadway.

Thursday, Oct. 16: The Manhattan borough office invites new teachers to its annual reception, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at UFT headquarters. There will be information available on salary, pension, health and Welfare Fund benefits, certification and licensing, and more. Food and beverages will be served. Download the flyer to RSVP. For more information, email Cassie Carlo at

Wednesday, Oct. 22: Save the date! The first Delegate Assembly of the school year will be at 4:15 p.m. at 52 Broadway.


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)

Friday, Oct. 3, 4 p.m., Executive Board Meeting.
Saturday, Oct. 18, Annual Fall Tour: Biddle, Bristol & Burlington; bus leaves @ 7:30 a.m.
Humane Education

Saturday, Oct. 4, 10:45 a.m., A Field Trip @ Queens County Farm Museum.
Saturday, Oct. 18, 9:45 a.m., Animal Heroes Workshop.
Math Teachers

Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m., TI-Nspire Workshop.
NYCAFLT/UFT (NYC Assn. of Foreign Language Teachers)

Saturday, October 25, 9 a.m., Annual Regional Conference.
NYC Music Teachers Association/UFT

Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 a.m., Music Workshop. CANCELLED
NYCATA/UFT (NYC Art Teachers Assn.)

Monday, Oct. 6, 5:30 p.m., Pre-Conference Dinner.
Saturday, Oct. 25, 8:30 a.m., Annual Artworks Conference @ Fiorello LaGuardia HS.

Friday, Oct. 10, 4 p.m., Board Meeting.
Friday, Oct. 17 & 24, 4 p.m. Auditions

Saturday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m., Chase Corporate Challenge. Race starts @ Chase Corporate Building.

Friday, Oct. 17, 7:15 p.m., Using Video Interactively in the Classroom @ NYU (32 Waverly Place).
Saturday, Oct. 18, 9:30 a.m., Professional Development Hands-On Physical Science Sampler Workshop @ the Sloan Kettering Inst., 1275 York Avenue, Rm. M107.

Tuesday, Oct. 21, 4:30 p.m., General Meeting.


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