Saturday, September 05, 2015

Message to Staff

This is my first member email this year, and it went out last week. It's not really unique to my school. Acceptable number of classrooms may vary according to your building and/ or department (and your school, hopefully, is not as crowded as mine). A lot of this applies to everyone, though.  I wish a great year to all. 

First of all, I hope you had a restful and rewarding summer. And let me be the first to remind you it isn't actually over yet.

If you have not yet checked, I advise you that end of year teacher ratings should be in your DOE mailbox. If you received a rating of D or I, you will be getting a TIP, or teacher improvement plan. You should have an initial TIP meeting before September 28th. You are entitled to have input into this plan. You are further entitled to bring me with you to the meeting, and I strongly suggest you do. If you wish, email me with your phone number and we will discuss it before school begins.

If you received an I rating, there is an appeals process. I strongly suggest you read about it, and take advantage of it.

As you know, you will soon be receiving your programs. We have thus far enrolled about 300 more students than we did last year. I expect this to result in issues not only with programs, but also with class sizes. I will check the master several times this month. I will grieve class sizes for the entire school, if necessary, by September 28th, our tenth school day. You will not need to file class size grievances individually. Programs are another matter.

If there are issues with your program, you need to let me know immediately. I will be happy to help you resolve them. You have only 48 hours from the time of receiving your program to file a grievance. There are several reasons you may wish to do this, including:

1. You filled out a request form and got none of the courses you requested
2. You have four preps.
3. Excessive number of classrooms (likely 4 in our building).

While your AP may be the most wonderful person on earth, you may not rely on assurances that these issues will be fixed. Your AP may have the best of intentions, but if you do not file a grievance your rights are not protected. I have seen multiple teachers receive sincere assurances that their programs would be fixed, and admin eventually turned around and told them that alas, it was just not possible.

Only you can protect your contractual rights. A reorganization grievance will be quickly brought to arbitration, if that's what it takes. However, during the six years I've been chapter leader, we have never needed to do that. The only people who have ended up with lingering problems were those who failed to file grievances.  If you fail to grieve within 48 hours and get stuck with an awful schedule, you will have no recourse whatsoever.

You may also wish to file a grievance if you got none of your C6 choices. Let me know if that is the case and we'll discuss how to proceed.

Best regards,

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