SED certificate registration system is live

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.17.27 AMThis week the State Education Department opened the new online registration system required of all certified classroom teachers and Level III teaching assistants working in public schools and BOCES. The process is being done through the TEACH system. SED this week sent notification emails to the addresses they already have in the TEACH system to alert certificate holders of the new requirement.

As part of the process, registrants will be asked questions about child support and a series of moral character questions. SED says the child support questions are required by the state general obligations law and must be asked of all registrants. The moral character questions are currently asked of all licensed professionals looking to register or re-register with the state. NYSUT objected to the inclusion of these questions in the new registration process because the law did not specifically include a provision calling for these questions. SED decided to move forward based on the requirements for the other professions. Here are screen shots of the registration pages.

For more information about the new system, see NYSUT’s updated certification page.

To log in to your TEACH account, go to http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/teach/. If you can’t remember if you’ve ever logged in, or can’t remember your password, you can enter the home email address that is associated with your account to receive a password reset notification.

Still having problems? If you can’t remember what email is associated with your account or if the associated email is out of date (my problem), you can contact NYSED by email form or call the help line here. I had this problem and called the help line to reset my email. Although I had to wait on hold for 20 minutes, they processed my request quickly and I was able to access my account easily after the call.

Although NYSED is asking people to wait until their birth month to register your certificate, you may be able to do so early. I was told that the window for registration will be open 3 months at a time. So, teachers born in July, Aug, and September should be able to register now.

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GM

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Governor signs extension for new APPR agreements

In the final hours of the session, both houses approved legislation that would give school districts and unions until Dec. 31 to submit new Annual Professional Performance Review plans with the State Education Department. Districts around the state have been scrambling to negotiate new evaluation plans by Sept. 1, or risk losing promised state aid increases.

An estimated 450 districts still have not finished negotiations. NYSUT said the new law, signed by the governor Thursday, offers “important breathing room” for districts and local unions.

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NYSUT activism staves off last-minute legislative attacks

Screen Shot 2016-06-25 at 8.04.56 AMLast week, just as the legislative session was drawing to a close, some cynical lawmakers launched a number of 11th-hour attacks on teachers, public education and working families.

NYSUT legislative staff stalked the Capitol day and night, meeting with lawmakers “to ensure the passage of good legislation and the defeat of bills that would have been very bad for our members,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta.

“And, thanks to a whirlwind of last-minute member activism, we were able to win several key victories in the waning hours,” he said. “We asked for your help, and you responded.”

Among those important victories, which will now go to the governor, whose signature would enact the laws:

  • An extension of the APPR deadline — from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016 — for school districts to implement and have plans approved, which has already been signed.
  • The union protected public pensions. The pension forfeiture legislation that was ultimately passed included only elected officials and public officers … and not NYSUT members.
  • Both houses passed legislation that would protect the collective bargaining rights of public employees with respect to negotiated health insurance buyouts (NYSHIP).

Just as important were the onerous things the union defeated, including yet another shameful attempt at a backdoor voucher that would take public tax dollars meant for public schools and give them instead to the wealthy and powerful.

To stay involved and active in the issues that matter to you, click here to become a FAN of the NYSUT Action Center page on Facebook!

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Top 10 Things to Do Before Summer Break

Things to Get Done This Week
  1. Please register your preferred home email with us so we can contact you over the summer regarding contract and APPR updates as well as back-to-school info and events.  Complete the simple survey by visiting our website: https://wdea3115.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/stay-in-touch-over-the-summer/
  2. Bookmark the WDEA website on your smartphone. Access important info including everything you read in these emails as well as a Retiree Fact Sheet and our WDEA contract under the Important Documents tab (note: password for access is 3115). Go to www.wdea3115.org and bookmark the page today.
  3. Register your teaching certificate during your birth month. I’ll be sending monthly reminders throughout the year (you can NOT register early, you must wait until your birth month). All teachers must register their certificate through NYSED’s TEACH system beginning this July (if you were born in July or August, you must register your certificate this summer). Teachers holding “Professional Certificates” (after Feb 2004) must also catalog 100 hours of professional development/continuing education every 5 years. “Permanent Certificates” (before Feb 2004) are not required to track continued education.  Questions about professional development hours may be directed Liz Dougherty at OHMS, she’s our resident expert.  You may also contact Annette Iamondo in the District Office for quidance on what counts for PD/Continuing Ed. Learn more by visiting NYSUT’s fact sheet or by accessing the TEACH system directly at http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/teach/.
  4. Submit any professional development hours and In-Service requests to My Learning Plan before the end of the week. Remember, there is a 5 hour PD requirement (local Westhill requirement) for all teachers, and those receiving certificates after Feb 2004 must complete 100 hours every 5 years. Your MLP hours will be uploaded to TEACH automatically. You may submit hours including staff development days, staff meetings and PLCs, CSE meetings etc. that occur throughout the year. Those hours may be submitted all at once, no need to submit each individual session (ie. submit all meetings for a particular committee on one form). 
  5. Be sure to return FLEX benefit election forms and payroll forms to Cheryl Robinson before the end of next week (June 23).
  6. Contact Cheryl Robinson at the D.O. for all insurance enrollment questions. Open enrollment for health insurance is July 1. If you wish to re-enroll in health insurance, please see Cheryl immediately (if you currently receive health insurance through the district, you’re all set-no need to do anything). Open enrollment for all other benefits (Vision, Dental, Disability, Life etc. is Sept. 1. Enrollment forms for those benefits must be completed in August to meet the Sept. 1 deadline.
  7. There is no need to upload artifacts this year for your APPR. Although you are always welcome to upload artifacts or share information with your principal, this step is not required.
  8. Visit the New York State Teacher Retirement System to learn more about buying back prior service credit for military service.  New this year (just signed two weeks ago), veterans who served in the military during non-combat times are now eligible to buy back up to three years of service and add it to their NYSTRS service credit.  Yes, that means you could retire earlier than you originally thought, or at least retire with a bigger pension. Learn more by visiting the NYS Comptroller’s website or by contacting NYSTRS directly at https://www.nystrs.org/Contact/Get-in-Touch.  Call 1-800-348-7298 ext. 6030 for prior service questions.
  9. Stop by the NYSUT booth in the Center of Progress during the Great NYS Fair. If you’re at the Fair on Saturday, Sept. 3, look for our WDEA brothers and sisters between 10AM and 10PM. Sept. 3rd is WDEA day at the NYSUT Fair booth.
  10. Save the date: October 16th is the date for this year’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer walk. This year’s event is being held right in our back yard at the OCC SRC Arena. Please consider being part of the WDEA/Westhill team this year and joining us for a wonderful event. Thanks to Liz Persons for volunteering to be our team captain again this year.
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Stay in Touch Over the Summer

WDEA members, please take a moment to register your preferred home email with us so we can keep in touch and send you important APPR and contract updates as well as back to school info and events.  Thank you and have a great summer!

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Elementary Clubs

In the latest WDEA contract, elementary clubs were added to the co-curricular schedule to recognize work that is being done at the elementary level (K-6) without compensation (WPS mileage club, CRS drama club etc) and to incentivize new clubs being formed in the future.  The club schedule added thirteen $569 stipends for clubs meeting once a week for 8-10 weeks.  If you completed work this past year that you think might fall under these clubs, please follow the link below to print and submit an application to your building principal by Monday, June 6th. Email or call me if you have any questions about eligibility or talk to your building reps.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T0h0LlXEpJwzzUNdy_p_ZfIIpk_PqM4vDnsExt-2XnM/edit?usp=sharing

This is a quick turnaround for this year only (2015-16), next year’s application process will be outlined in a separate email.
Thank you.
GM
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Join the WDEA Corporate Challenge Team

Westhill friends,
Don’t forget to register for the Westhill Corporate Challenge team sponsored by the WDEA.  Register by tomorrow, Friday, May 20, and receive your commemorative team tech-shirt for race day.  Join us, and thousands of runners and walkers, on Tuesday, June 7th on Onondaga Lake Parkway for the race event of the season.  Follow this link to join the Westhill CC team:

https://www.jpmorganchasecc.com/companies.php?team_id=422572

We hope to see you there.
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