The meeting began with President Mulgrew apologizing for the timing of the town hall with elementary school open school evening. He said there were no good choices.
He then talked about vaccines and said members should go through UFT program or NYC or state. He then praises the nurses, both in school and out of school.
APPR teacher evaluation
DRs being trained with DOE people today. We want a simple system. DOE wanted a formal and an informal with 8 domains being hit. DOE gave in. It can't be like it was before the pandemic. Have to put it in terms of the pandemic. Chapter leader training tomorrow. Training for everyone tomorrow. Most get one observation, some who were ineffective two years ago get two. School-based or citywide MOSL. We are working on the citywide MOSL. Online complaint process. If the administrator looks for all 8 domains filled with evidence, you need to let UFT know right away. Observations have to be done in the context of how we are working. They don't understand it because they have never worked under these conditions. Training tomorrow and Monday. Please register.
No blanket waiver from federal Department of Education. Standardized tests need to be reported to federal government. Need a 95% participation rate usually or there are penalties. We don't need that but reporting requirements are still in effect. We need individual state waivers which the State Education Department is trying to get. If we don't get the waiver, federal position is only in-person students need to test. Opt-put, we support NYSUT position. High schools will be open before the end of the school year. Some Regents will be given. We want to use functional assessments. We are still in flux on these things. Exams have nothing to do with teacher evaluations. Looking for 3-8 waivers and high schools.
Last year we didn't get a calendar until September. We are working with DOE as we want it out now. That is a big deal. Because of all our holidays, we will probably only have 180 instructional days. No snow days next year. We started late this year but I don't know if we can make every child remote if there is a snow day. We start contemplating School Based Options which involve in many changing the calendar and start times. Getting calendar out early helps for working on SBOs. Professional activity menu and comp time need to be done. For now, hold out and wait. We do over 1,000 SBO's per year. We don't want SBO's that can't be implemented. We will need an open SBO period toward September. Calendar first and then SBO's
Chapter Leader Elections
It's an election year for all chapter leaders. We will send something out that it is a combination of mail and electronic. We need an election chairperson in each school that is having an election. We are trying to put a stipend in for this.
D75 are like the marines in opening and also elementary schools. Middle schools did a great job opening last week. Lead time was the key. COVID testing is the key We know how many students and staff are coming in. City has tons of extra money from two federal cares packages to spend on COVID-19 in schools. PPE, air filters, stand alone air purifiers, contact tracers, cleaning equipment all from Cares Acts. High schools have lowest percentage for in-person learning. We must recognize that a lot of students want to get back to schools in-person. We will use middle school formula. Need lead time. Mayor is in compliance with plan if he can show he can do the testing and contact tracing. He can open in a day if he can do this. Buildings are in pretty good shape. PPE, we can reload a building. Good idea to check things before we open. Building Response Teams have to go in. We need PSAL open. We are behind everyone else in the state on this. Parents and clergy want sports open. UFT told parents we are not stopping this. We know there will be testing.
Social emotional trauma, learning loss, those at the end of their school careers (5th grade, 8th grade 12th grade) are real problems for at least the next two years. Some high school seniors graduated and didn't even know it. Seniors in our classes right now we have to get to a better place. We can't just leave it to the guidance counselors. Social and emotional trauma in our students and ourselves need to be addressed. We need a plan. One more major federal package on the floor of the US Senate right now. We must have plan for social emotional trauma, learning loss and students transitioning to the next level. Damage has been done. We need plans, supports with funding behind it to meet these challenges. Member assistance program: we have added resources but it is full. We have to do work for ourselves. We don't want to go to DOE for functional assessments. We can't make it a big bureaucratic mess. Working with CUNY and SUNY. They have had a massive drop in enrollment. We are not there to help students with their paperwork for college. We will see where we go with the state budget.
Next school year
We don't know. We will follow what independent medical experts are telling us. What happened last year in terms of planning cannot happen again. Members must tell leadership what to look for in terms of safety. Everyone who wants a vaccine will have it by next school year. Clinical trials taking place for 2-15 year olds. We depend on medical experts. Mayor is not a medical expert. For next year we would prefer fully remote or fully in person as the options. We can't wait like city did last year. Must push for city to have a responsible school opening as a priority. Medical experts should decide, not us.
Today is almost a year since we won the fight to close schools. Not a big win because of what came after. We did that together. It is almost a full year. We learned remote by working together. Summer was the fight for opening for this school year. We knew what we wanted to open. We got through it. We shut down in November and now we are slowly reopening. We still have a long way to go. We got it done safely. Everyone worked really hard. We don't have all the answers and it is not fair. Keep same mind frame for next year. We see the finish line but we still have a ways to go. We see the damage done to students. We need a plan. We don't have all the answers but we have a common motivation.
We are a union that's based on a profession who care. We need to get through this year safely and have a better opening for next year. We are still working on an early retirement incentive. We and NYSUT are pushing very hard. We will know by April 1. (State budget deadline Mulgrew said is March 30 but we find out April 1. I think it is March 31.) We will get the no-layoff clause for next year if we get the extra money from the federal government. In an elementary school visit, teachers said thank God we are here and we are open. Thanks everyone. We will have complaint form for APPR next week. Standardized tests not linked to APPR this year. Get vaccines from us, city, state or drug stores soon. Schools are going to be opening. We will deal with budget challenges. We will get to the end of this thing.
Question: Question about observations from fully remote special ed teacher. AP came into remote class and wrote it up with feedback. Does that count?
Answer: It only counts if it is effective or highly effective, not if ineffective or developing. My guess is a lot of people's observations are already done. DOE guidance is often contradictory. Walk-throughs, remote or in-person can be used.
Question: Is there any decision on calendar days in June?
Answer: We are stuck on instructional days because of the two week lag we had at the beginning of the year. SED approved our plan but there couldn't be any loss of instructional days.
Question: Standardized testing, are we just giving standardized testing to meet federal guidelines or to make admission decisions?
Answer: It is only to meet federal guidelines. Standardized tests can't be part of admissions decisions We need functional assessments. Tests diagnostic.
Question: Chapter 683, when will we get the calendar? When will we know type of instruction?
Answer: We are looking to DOE to work out answers to these questions. Many parents opted out. Gut feeling there will be remote and in-person. As soon as we get answers, we will get them out. Children in 683 have in many cases had developmental regression.
Question: High school reopening, timelines because school has operational complaint that was moot and school reopening still has the problems?
Answer: High school operational complaints have to be addressed right away. Middle school testing has met goals. We have an open relationship with testing and contract tracing people. We need some lead time and will work on operational issues now because the city is building the capacity fast.
Followup: Are Regents testing days considered instructional days?
Answer: Yes, we can't just leave it to guidance counselors to help students transition. Crazy grading policies need to be cleaned up. If a student passes a class, they still get Regents credit. We need a hybrid plan. VEEPS have a plan.
Question: Sent an email to Ellie Engler. Thank elementary school teachers. Not chosen one time for COVID testing.
Answer: If you sent an email to Ellie Engler, there is a good chance you will get tested next week. We get hundreds of emails on a daily basis. We will say of course it's random, but we think this person should get tested.
Question: Early retirement incentive, Is there anything new?
Answer: We are lobbying hard in Albany. It needs to be in the state budget. Deadline date is April 1. Lobbying governor's office, state assembly and state senate.
Question: Any other opt in for students for school for this year?
Answer: Original plan was for three opt in periods but mayor changed that to a period in December. There have been no conversation about another opt in period. We would have to reprogram many schools if more students came in.
Question: Parents have opted for fully remote, but would remote kids have to come in and take exams?
Answer: Only the in-person students take it. If the student takes the test and passes the class, whether they pass or fail the test, they still get Regents credit.
Question: Any validity to DOE mandating UFT members be vaccinated?
Answer: No, DOE can't do it; only the state can mandate it but state is not mandating it. It is a personal: choice.
Followup: Evaluations, what will it look like for a remote teacher? What if my technology goes wrong?
Answer: DOE wanted a different system for remote and in-person. We said no. Tech problems can't be used against you. Evaluation-observation has to be based on what they observe. Context of the conditions you are working in has to be taken into consideration. In-person when you are wearing two masks and a shield has to be taken into context. New complaint process as well as an appeal process are taken into consideration. If it goes to arbitration next year, the fact that you are working under conditions that you were not hired under will carry great weight.
Question: Remote teacher without accommodation, can they make you come in?
Answer: They can do it but get in touch with UFT and we will try to address it.
Question: Spring break pay from last year?
Answer: This will be the first arbitration when it is fully up. Payroll and para termination grievances are open. Also, dealing with American Arbitration Association. This will be the first arbitration we will file. City position is CAR days was the compensation. We have a letter saying they couldn't use those days in a future proceeding. That is going to be the issue.
Question: I feel like I just got called to the Price is Right. Will high schools go back before spring break? Travel issues?
Answer: There is a real possibility it could be before the break. In terms of travel, that is up to you. It is your choice. A lot of members have been vaccinerated. If you travel, that's on you. Elementary and D75 have dealt with this. Get test before you travel and that should help with quarantine issues.
Question: Open market transfers, will that be open?
Answer: We will open it up. We may end up with a 2-4% drop in enrollment. Must get city up and running faster. Talk about mayor's race in next town hall.
Question: PPE and safety for D75 after COVID?
Answer: Reading about steps taken after 1918 flu. Looking to modernize in next federal infrastructure bill. Push it with DOE too. Also, technology needs to be figured out. Having conversations.
Question: CTLE hours. New cycle started in 2016 ending now. Is there a change in this requirement?
Answer: Last year everyone got an extension. We have a whole slew of CTLE classes. Some really cool stuff with Apple. We are waiting for the state for guidance.
Question: Thoughts on the new chancellor?
Answer: We have worked with her for years. We did a lot of work with the Bronx plan with her. Mayor thinks he's the chancellor. It is frustrating. New chancellor in our work with her has been phenomenal but we are at the end of this administration, you know what this means.
Thanks elementary schools again. Elementary schools like the rock. Foundational stuff done from the early grades. We gotta get through this March. People need to know what directions we are going in and why. We decided last year it was safety, livelihood and the profession. People recognize that NYC opened first. CDC guidelines look a lot like our plan. We will get to the end of this school year and hopefully we will have a better opening next year. Standardized tests, we are all fighting and a lot of people are on our side. Take advantage of APPR training. If you are vaccinated and want to travel, those are personal decisions. We continue to make progress because of members. You inspire Mulgrew. Passion and creativity keeps coming out and it's nonstop. That is why we are the greatest union in the world. Thanks everyone again and God bless.