YFT Executive Board Addresses Hundreds Concerning the Opening of Yonkers PublicSchools

Tribune Budget, Community, COVID-19, Education, Finance, Governance, History, Law, People, Politics, Technology, Unions, Westchester County, NY, Yonkers, NY 11 Comments

Dear YFT members,

YONKERS, NY — September 5, 2020 — This week, the YFT Executive Board addressed hundreds of questions and concerns about the opening of schools for synchronous remote instruction, the frustratingly inadequate training, and the persistent technological challenges we experienced. Our members faced these challenges with impressive persistence, professionalism, patience, and fortitude. For that we sincerely thank you.

On Friday, September 4, 2020 the YFT Executive Board met with the district to continue negotiations for remote instruction working conditions. The fact that these working conditions are not in place prior to our members returning to work this week and beginning remote instruction on Tuesday, September 8, is unacceptable. Although slow and untimely, we did make some progress in our negotiations and we hope to reach an agreement soon. Please be aware that all provisions of the YFT/BOE Collective Bargaining Agreement remain in place until otherwise negotiated.

At the meeting, we also took the opportunity to convey the following list of issues and concerns we collected from you, our members, this week:

Top 10 Remote Learning Issues
(Only issues that were reported by more than 80% of the buildings are on this list:

1. Student rosters have not been populated in the Teams platform.
2. Internet continues to crash or slow down frequently.
3. Trainings have been subpar at best. Schools report that the training consisted of videos that show what the platforms can do, not how to execute them.
a. Teams
b. Nearpod
c. Seesaw (classes not set up).
d. Benchmark (compatible with Google Classroom not Teams).
4. ENL teachers are not connected with students.
5. IEPs are not available.
6. Parents and students have not been informed who their teachers are, nor do they know what to do. Tuesday morning. Teachers asked to call all families without knowledge of plan for next week.
7. District issued equipment not working properly (laptops, microphones, speakers, cameras).
8. Not enough sanitizing stations throughout the buildings or cleaning supplies.
9. Administrators are not promoting mask wearing or social distancing in the buildings.
10. Teachers physical assignments within buildings.
a. Multiple teachers to a room create feedback issues on computers.
b. Multiple teachers assigned to offices/rooms does not allow for proper social distancing.
c. Teachers split between multiple buildings creates more opportunity for exposure.
d. Teachers without classrooms and assigned to work remotely from hallways.

Negotiations on other working conditions are as follows:
*Please note that: (a) this is not a complete list, and (b) no parts of the agreement have been finalized. The following list is pending until the Memorandum of Agreement has been signed by both parties.*

• YFT proposed that each member shall be provided with a working device with a camera and microphone and all necessary programs and platforms.

• YFT emphasized the need for additional professional development to be provided during the contractual work day.

• YFT and the District shall continue to negotiate any necessary changes to teachers’ APPR. YFT proposed that teachers shall not be evaluated on their ability/skillset to use technology and will not be held accountable in any way for technological malfunctions or non-functioning devices and shall not be required to “make up” or post lessons missed due to technological or device malfunctions unless provided with time (not prep or lunch) during the work day or paid the contractual rate to voluntarily do so outside the work day.

• Agreed as of now: Instructional videos shall not be used to supplant teachers or reduce staffing positions. Nor will these videos be used by the District to generate revenue.

• Agreed as of now: Teachers may communicate through Class Dojo, Remind, Bloomz, Edmodo, and Band. These platforms may be used for the purpose of communication only and not for delivery of instruction.

• YFT and the District shall continue to negotiate how student attendance and engagement must be recorded in PowerSchool for students not attending during synchronous remote instruction but completing the work offline or outside class time.

• YFT and the District shall continue to negotiate expectations for synchronous instruction and flexibility regarding camera/face time, pre-recorded lessons not being required, presentation, and privacy issues.

• Health and Safety measures: YFT proposed and strongly emphasized the need for mask breaks for those sharing spaces; mandatory 14-day building closure for COVID-related cases; teachers not assigned or volunteer to take temperatures of students or other adults; need to address teachers sent home due to suspected contact or exposure; remote learning from home in cases of building closure; air flow reports for classroom and public spaces; all staff in building to be notified of any COVID-positive case in that building and the measures taken to address it.

• Schedules: YFT proposed the following schedules, which differ from the schedules many administrators have disseminated from the District’s re-entry plan (**see in the attached link and/or by clicking on the email sent out**).

    Once again, we thank you all for your ongoing dedication, professionalism, and care for our students. Please know that we continue to support and advocate for you. We will keep you informed as we move forward.

In Solidarity,

YFT Executive Board

TribuneYFT Executive Board Addresses Hundreds Concerning the Opening of Yonkers PublicSchools

Comments 11

  1. Some may think that teachers get paid enough or more for the ‘LITTLE’ they do. But, you try being in a classroom with 30 students, different personalities, ambitions thoughts for a 40 minute time. THEN, comes a different group and so on and so on. From 7:45am – 2:45pm or 3pm. They remember the names, faces and how much they can take in to learning. They have to adjust the lessons because not all the students have the same level or attention. Teachers have allot of patience and are perceived as having an easy job. They are not given all or most of the supplies needed throughout the year. And, when there’s a Snow day, that’s not a paid vacation. That day has to be attendant during the year, depending on how many there are. NOPE. You try doing that for 1 year and tell me if you’d do it for more years. As some teachers have done, more than 10 years.

  2. It is ridiculous that this was even shared. They should give you their list of demands like they can take off as needed and not have their sick days touched. It’s a 2 way street. Ask them to share their demands. Mind you they work 180 days a year and get 12 sick days and 3 personal. What other worker works half a year and get 15 days of paid leave time on top? And they accumulate! Most have over 100. FOIL salaries now! Most are making over 100K for half a years work. And why do they feel like they do not have to step up to the plate and put time into their profession? The district sent out over 100 opportunities during distance learning and the summer telling them to prepare. Oh right. They have an actual clause in their contract that says although they are paid 12 months they have to do no work or answer emails during the summer or after school. As a payroll manager, when my company implements a new system, I get trained once and need to troubleshoot as I learn. They keep demanding PD during the teaching day??!! Kids have not lost enough learning? Wednesdays are already half days. These demands are all about teacher feelings, needs, demands but nothing giving in to what parents and kids need. Ridiculous!

    1. I am sorry, as a teacher I have 7 years of college, like a lawyer, a doctor. Go back to school and you can live this life too. I earn my money all 180 days.

    2. The ignorance and lack of appreciation for the amount of thought, effort, work, and caring that teachers invest daily in their students and their learning communities is truly tragic. Community members who criticize and denigrate teachers for the amount of money that they are paid have no clue as to the amount of outside work, professional development hours, counseling and individual attention to students that teachers willingly contribute to students and their families every day – including evenings, weekends, holidays, and even during the summer. Those who air their grievances regarding learning systems rather than offering to help improve those systems are part of the problem. Shameful.

  3. The teacher was not feeling well with fever and headaches…. why did she come to work? The daily questioning specifically asks if you have have any symptoms do not come to work! Why did she jeopardize her colleagues? The teachers are totally naive and wreckless!!!!! Follow the rules and stop being part of the problem. Wtf????

  4. Imagine a teacher from yonkers school 17 has tested positive for COVID-19! Lucky the kids were not in the building! I pray no one else in that building was exposed! Why is the district playing with our staff’s lives! Someone needs to pull the plug and have teachers, support staff help and teach from the safety of home! Why do we have to wait when it’s too late!? What good will it do anyone if teachers end up getting sick! Please someone realize it’s not safe!

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