Hello MITA Members! 2021-22 is proving to be equally if not more challenging than 20-21. I can not remember a more divisive time than what we are seeing around us currently. Certainly, I see and hear it daily in my communications with members, with the district, with NYSUT, basically with everyone. It is a time where a union, or anyone in a decision-making capacity, knows that regardless of which decisions are made there are individuals or groups who will feel slighted, overlooked, offended, and/or unhappy at the very least, about whatever was ultimately decided.
I hope that all MITA members, regardless of personal viewpoints, understand that some issues are above what we are able to act on. There have been many of those situations created by Covid, as we know. When this is the case, it is important to focus on what CAN be done, and for me and the MITA officers, that has been trying to assist our members through it, whether that means providing onsite vaccines last Spring, or onsite testing at our office now, among other things.
I wanted to give a few updates about the 2021 APPR and also the NYS Covid Testing Requirements.
The APPR presentation that Mr. Crenshaw sent out was certainly comprehensive and thorough, including his survey about our needs for training / review / Frontline. Noteworthy is our move to a District-Wide assessment. So, there will be no more individual SLOs, everyone will be scored using the ELA Regents, which is great news, and MITA's primary objective for this revised plan. The Focus Indicators have been updated for this year. Essentially, those are the major revisions to our current plan. Other than the addition of a reflection form, (to provide teachers' input on what may have not been observed during an observation) the observation structure remains basically the same. For tenured teachers, the announced observation has been reduced to a "short form" which means there is no pre-observation conference, and a post-observation conference only if mutually agreeable. Non-tenured observations remain the same. All APPR paperwork, scheduling, and reports will be generated and communicated via Frontline. Time spent on discussing the revisions has been inconsistent throughout the buildings. If you feel that you need additional time spent reviewing it, in addition to replying to Mr. Crenshaw's survey, please make that known to your Principal, Chair, Director, or appropriate administrator.
NYS Covid Testing Requirements.
Starting last week the district established a weekly Thursday deadline for submitting testing results. These are for the upcoming week. As long as results are being uploaded weekly, you will be meeting this deadline. (The requirements state that the test must be within 7 days of submitting.) A list of test sites has been sent out by HR. I encourage everyone to choose their site and get a test this week so that you are in compliance. The district requires "proof of testing." Not test results.
The protocol for symptomatic students is that they are to be sent to the nurse, who will make the determination whether they return to class or are sent home. I feel and have expressed to C/O that this places an unfair obligation on our nurses. If you are experiencing issues with this, please bring them to the attention of your principal. Nurses' offices are short-staffed and in the absence of rapid tests, I do not think it is realistic to expect our nurses to make those determinations.