There will be one staff conference each month during a lunch period. This was SBO’d in the spring. There is only one mandatory grade conference each month as well. Each teacher is entitled to one prep period each day. These periods are for unassigned professional work.

A prep is a prep, whether or not it is a “common” prep. If you already had a grade conference for the month, you may not be forced to give up your prep or lunch for any reason whatsoever. Once again, only first-year teachers can have two prep periods a week directed by the administration.

NOWHERE in the contract does it say “every teacher on the grade will be responsible for grade-wide meetings with Administrators, Coaches and any demonstration lessons.”

Once again, you must attend the one monthly grade conference and one monthly staff conference. All other preps are yours to do your work as you please. Of course, if you choose to attend these meetings, that is your right. But once again you can not be forced or intimidated to attend. If conference time is provided back-to-back with your prep, you still have the right to take your prep. If you are disciplined in ANY way for exercising your rights, see me IMMEDIATELY. According to our contract here are only two exceptions:

1. During the first year of employment of a teacher who has not had previous professional employment as a teacher, two preparation periods per week shall be designated as professional support periods.

2. For uncertified teachers being mentored during their second year of employment, two preparation periods per week shall continue to be designated as professional support periods exclusively for the purpose of mentoring.


As the educator responsible for providing classroom instruction to your students, you are responsible for developing lesson plans and can determine their format, organization, notation and content. Your supervisor may suggest, but cannot require or insist upon, a particular format unless you have received, or are about to receive, a “U” rating. Your supervisor may enter your classroom and ask to see your lesson plan, at any time, but cannot collect them on a regular basis.

Letter-in-the-File Arbitration Victory

In a major victory for UFT members, an arbitrator has ruled that members may seek the removal of a letter written for the file if there is an underlying substantive violation of the collective-bargaining agreement.

In this case, a Brooklyn high school principal gave any teacher who was absent 10 or more days a letter for the file for being excessively absent. One teacher who received such a letter for the file filed a grievance under Articles 16 (absences) and 20 (Chancellor's Regulation C-601) of the contract, arguing that the principal violated the chancellor's regulation on attendance.

The arbitrator ruled in the teacher's favor, asserting that no specific number of absences can automatically trigger discipline. He stated that a good faith, case-by-case analysis of the facts and circumstances of each teacher's absences should be conducted before determining whether discipline is warranted.

The arbitrator went further to say that multiple factors should be considered in deciding whether a teacher was excessively absent. Those factors include:

-Whether the absences were due to unusual circumstances
-Whether the absences are likely to recur
-Whether there is a pattern of absences
-The teacher's attendance and work history, including the number of
days in the teacher's CAR and the number of years of service
-Whether the teacher had a serious illness
-The impact of the absences on the school and its students.

This arbitration decision can be used in other areas of our contract besides absences. For example, a teacher who receives a letter for the file alleging he or she committed corporal punishment could file a grievance under Article 20 if there is a substantive violation of the Chancellor's Regulation A-420 (Corporal Punishment), such as the investigation was not done properly. The teacher could ask as a remedy for a proper investigation in addition to the removal of the letter from the file.

If you have any questions regarding the application of this grievance decision, you should call your district representative or your UFT borough office.

Howard Solomon
UFT Grievance Director

When a revised organization sheet comes out and your assignment has been changed to one that is not one of your three choices, you have 48 hours to grieve. According to Article Seven, Section C 1 e of our contract:

Grievances hereunder may be lodged if:
(1) In any year an elementary school teacher fails to be granted one of his/her stated
program preferences; or
(2) For two years in succession the elementary school teacher has been denied his/her
first priority of program preference.
Any assignment that is grievable shall be reviewed in accordance with the standards
applicable to Articles 7C1b and c.

If you are changing rooms, while you must leave school furniture, bookcases, etc. in your old room, you may take materials which you own. As far as Teacher’s Choice materials, this is a quote from an official with the UFT: “Teacher's Choice materials technically belong to the school. If the teachers who are moving need the materials for next year, then they should move with the materials.” If you are leaving employment in the building (retiring, transferring, etc.), then you must leave all Teacher’s Choice materials in the building.

This week, the UFT won a major arbitration case. A teacher received a letter in the file for excessive absences. He was out after having surgery. The arbitrator ruled that it violates regulations, and that “(T)here are no specific number of absences that automatically triggers discipline.” Things must be on a case by case basis, as there are many circumstances that UFT members have, such as injuries and health issues. More details will follow, including an update to the Know Your Rights section of the UFT web site.

If you have worked for 20 days or more, you will receive a rating from the principal within the last 10 days of the school year, but not less than four days before the end of the school year. It will either be Satisfactory (“S”), Unsatisfactory (“U”), Doubtful (“D”) or Not Applicable (“N/A”). Tenured teachers’ rating sheets can only have their rating, as well as attendance information. If you are a probationer, the “U” rating could lead to discontinuance of your probationary period. Since there are ramifications to a “U” rating, you should immediately contact the UFT Brooklyn borough office for assistance. Specialists there will help you file an appeal of your adverse rating and explain the various options available. Contact me as well and I will forward the information to our district rep.

The UFT is filing a grievance on the mandated use of DOE e-mail. Any changes to working conditions must be made through collective bargaining. The DOE decided to mandate the use of DOE e-mail by teachers without going through collective bargaining.

Organization Sheet
All teachers must have one of their three choices. This applies to ALL teachers, regardless of tenure status.

According to Article Seven of our contract, grievances may be lodged if:

1) In any year an elementary school teacher fails to be granted one of his/her stated program preferences; or

(2) For two years in succession the elementary school teacher has been denied his/her first priority of program preference.

Grievances must be filed within 48 hours of the distribution of the organization sheets. If the organization sheet comes out on Friday, June 13, then they must be filed by June 16th.

Know Your Rights
If you are asked to sign a document, whether a counseling memo, letter in the file, extention of probation, termination, or ANY document, you have the legal right to representation before signing.  No one can deny you your guaranteed right to union representation.

Spring Cleaning

Letters in the file that have not been used in a disciplinary proceeding should be removed three years from the date placed in the file, per Article 21A of the contract. You have the right to photocopy any material in your file. You should not review your file by yourself. Take either the chapter leader or a colleague with you when you look at your file. Make an appointment with the principal to see the file. Click on for more details. You should review your file annually.

Preference Sheets
Preference sheets are due on May 16. List your three grade preferences in order of your priority for next year. These preferences are entirely your own choice. Remember, you must receive one of your three preferences. This applies to ALL teachers, regardless of tenure status.
According to Article Seven of our contract, grievances may be lodged if:

1) In any year an elementary school teacher fails to be granted one of his/her stated program preferences; or
(2) For two years in succession the elementary school teacher has been denied his/her first priority of program preference.

Open Market Transfer Plan
The DOE will begin to post vacancies on its web site
beginning April 15, as per our contract. As principals continue to learn of vacancies they will be added to the site throughout the transfer period, which ends Aug. 7. When a position has been filled the listing will be removed from the site. You will be asked to complete an online registration form, which involves creating a user ID and password. Once you do this you’ll be able to electronically apply to any and all vacancies in your current license area. There is room on the online application for a cover letter and resume. You will also be able to apply to transfer to schools that have not advertised a vacancy. If you choose to do this your application will be kept on file should a vacancy subsequently arise. Upon submitting an application, a confirmation page will appear, Print a copy of it for yourself and keep it on file. Candidates also may be considered at job fairs, which will be posted on line.

Summer Session
The DOE’s Division of Human Resources began accepting online applications for summer session openings on April 2. To apply for a position, go to
and click on the hyperlink in the “Time Sensitive Information” section. Only online applications will be processed. 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

Letters in the File
If you have received a letter in the file, please let your chapter leader know immediately.  Remember, if you are required to do classroom or hall bulletin boards, their format is up to you. While supervisors may make suggestions for improvement, the contract expressly forbids supervisors to discipline you for the appearance and format of your bulletin boards, the arrangement of your room, or the length of segments of your lesson.


Teachers are not responsible for selling candy, and cannot be held financially responsible for unsold candy. Not one penny!

All teachers are entitled to a pre-observation conference. Use the pre-observation conference to clarify what your supervisor expects to see during the visit. Take notes. She may ask you for a lesson plan. Following the observation, you should write down your recollections of the lesson, which will help you at the post-observation conference with your supervisor. Simply telling you that they will be coming in does not constitute a pre-observation conference, even if they say it is!

Teachers are not to stay with their classes in the lunchroom.

The only way to retain our rights in this corporate mentality school system of ours is to exercise our rights without caving in to pressure or coercion. A strong union with involved members is vital to securing our rights and decent working conditions.