Members - FAQ

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UTLA Members FAQ


 

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Table of Contents

 

I.   COMMON GOOD COMMUNITY DEMANDS
     
II.   DISTANCE LEARNING
     
III.   EEC
     
IV.   FOOD CENTERS
     
V.   HHS PROFESSIONALS
     
VI.   PARENTS
     
VII.   SALARY & HEALTHCARE
     
VIII.   SCHOOL YEAR CLOSURE TIMELINE
     
IX.   SPECIAL EDUCATION
     
X.   SUBSTITUTES
     
XI.   OTHER
1.0   Employee Evaluations 
2.0   Grading
3.0   Illness
4.0   Matrix and Coordinator/Dean Elections 2020
5.0   PE minutes for elementary schools
6.0   Principals violating new agreement
7.0   Probation Educators 
8.0   Professional Development
9.0   School supplies
10.0   Standardized Testing
11.0   Student Communication
12.0   UTLA during shutdown
13.0   WORKDAY
14.0   Classroom Teachers - What To Do
15.0   Exemptions from working
16.0   School Work Day Hours
17.0   Two week lesson plans
18.0   Car Parades


 

COMMON GOOD COMMUNITY DEMANDS

 

What are some of the latest developments with UTLA’s Common Good demands?  

Among much other work building coalitions and pressing government officials, UTLA is supporting the organizations of low-income and working-class people who are building toward a rent strike in May. Millions of Californians have had their incomes significantly reduced or lost entirely due to COVID-19, and our elected officials must act to protect our communities and cancel rent and mortgages. Pledge here to support the rent strike movement. We will keep everyone posted on this critical work. 

 

What is the status of UTLA’s 10-point Common Good Community demands?

We are working with district, city, state officials to push a broad-based common good agenda that assists our communities, not just in a crisis but in an ongoing, systematic way.

 

DISTANCE LEARNING

What is expected of educators for distance learning with our students?

• The use of live video lessons is encouraged but not mandatory. Other engagement options include recorded video, live audio, recorded audio, and written guidance.

• Teachers will provide distance learning, with some combination of screen time, homework, reading, and related activities based on the pedagogical discretion of each educator.

• Teachers who do not have personal equipment (e.g., laptop) for distance learning or contacting parents and students shall make a request to their site administrator or supervisor.

 

HOME SCHOOLING


Newsom talked about parents home schooling students under a long school closure. Does that apply to LAUSD?
Of course parents are incredible allies in educating students, but in LAUSD the intention is to keep up the continuity of learning between educators and students.

 

EEC

Should educators at Early Education Centers complete the PD (professional development) that LAUSD announced last week?

Yes, the district has clarified that educators at Early Education Centers are required to complete the four two-hour professional development sessions outlined in the @Home Continuity of Learning memo.

LAUSD says that the PD will be geared toward EEC teachers using the California Early Child Online training provided through the CDE. Through MyPLN, EEC teachers can register for the California Preschool Learning Foundations—Social Emotional Development, and the 3R’s of early education: Resilience, Relationship, and Readiness (each of the 3Rs training is approximately two hours). Upon completion of the training, teachers will need to go back to MyPLN and complete the reflection so they can receive their certificate. EEC teachers with questions on navigating the online courses can email LAUSD Early Childhood Education Division staff members Maribel Zuniga at mxj6494@lausd.net or Lisette Sepulveda at lms9218@lausd.net.

Educators have until April 17 to complete the PD. The district originally said that the four PD sessions had to be completed by April 2, but after educators raised concerns and UTLA took those to the district, LAUSD extended that deadline. There is no specific daily window to get them done — the PD is self-directed and can be completed outside of traditional work hours, at a time that accommodates your own family obligations. 

• Required PD will be limited to distance learning strategies and use of technology during the month of April. 

• Any required PD must be no longer than one hour and will take the place of any faculty/department/grade level meeting scheduled for the same week.

• LAUSD will offer optional training in using live video for instruction.

 

Are there special resources for Early Education families?

The LAUSD Early Childhood Education Division has posted home learning resources for our youngest learners at https://achieve.lausd.net/eced (click on “Home Learning Resources”). The resources available for parents include interactive home activities, worksheets, and read-alouds for children to watch. LAUSD is adding new resources daily as EEC teachers send videos of themselves demonstrating activities with their students.

 

FOOD CENTERS

 

Will LAUSD food centers will stay open under “shelter at home” protocols?
 
Volunteers handed out more than 90,000 meals on Day 2 of the LAUSD food centers, a huge jump over the previous day and a sign of how deep the need is. LAUSD’s student food centers will stay open under the new “shelter at home” protocols because they provide an essential service to support families in need and to keep people healthy to stave off the virus. The large number of people accessing this service means that it is critically important that all safety measures be followed rigorously at over 63 locations. We've been informed that all staff now have access to masks. The American Red Cross Los Angeles Region in partnership with the LA County Office of Emergency Management will support these student food centers. UTLA will continue to monitor the implementation of safety protocols to protect both the volunteers and the families accessing the services. Find out more about the LAUSD Food Centers.

 

VOLUNTEERING FOR FOOD CENTERS

 

I signed up to staff an LAUSD food center. What happens now?
First of all, thank you for being one of the 4,500 people who answered the call to staff the centers—those are big numbers and show the commitment of the public education community in LA. As far as signing up, LAUSD is considering people who signed up for a resource center as signing up for a food distribution center. Be patient. Not everyone will be called right away. Volunteers will work from 6 am to 11 am and will receive a $100 stipend every day, in addition to their regular pay. Remember, even in the places across the world that went into shelter in place or dramatic social isolation protocols to flatten the curve, food distribution centers continued to operate.  They are essential.

What is the plan to keep volunteers and families picking up food safe at the food distribution centers?
Safety is a top priority. Specific safety protocols,deep and constant cleaning protocols, and social distancing measures will be in place, including a plan for volunteers to place food for pick up on a table instead of handing items over directly. Families will then drive up to the table and pick up the items.
 
Do the food distribution centers need volunteers?
No, no more volunteers are needed at this time.

 

HHS PROFESSIONALS

Are Health and Human Services professionals being required to do home visits at this time?

No Health and Human Services professionals are being required to do home visits. We expect to get more clarity soon from the district on assignments. We know there are a lot of unanswered questions for our HHS members, and we're working on a specialized FAQ. 

What will school work day hours look like for Health and Human Services professionals during the closure, and what is required of HHS professionals during the work day? 

• As with classroom teachers, the work day for HHS staff should total on average 240 minutes.

• To provide students and parents with consistency and avoid scheduling conflicts, UTLA members who are not teachers will create, share, and follow a regular weekly schedule of services and office hours per week. 

• Psychiatric Social Workers, Pupil Services Attendance Counselors, School Psychologists, and Counselors will provide appointments and work with students virtually or by phone, after the district issues guidelines for one-on-one student engagement. 

• Speech and Language Pathologists (SLP) and Designated Instructional Services (DIS) will provide support, which may include a combination of direct services, collaboration, and/or consultation. Appointments scheduled can be conducted virtually or by phone, after the district issues guidelines for one-on-one student engagement.

• Home visits by UTLA members, including HHS staff, are voluntary.

 

As far as specific work tasks for health and human services and itinerants, what is optional and what is mandated?

Anything outside of the side letter negotiated by UTLA is not a mandate, and the side letter applies to all UTLA members, including arts itinerants, PSAs, PSWs, secondary counselors, early educators, adult educators, and the many other subgroups of our members. Use common sense and the side letter to identify any unreasonable requests that violate the agreement. 
 



Does the 240-minute average workday apply to HHS staff and itinerants?

Yes — it applies to all members of UTLA’s bargaining unit to encourage a reasonable work-life balance in these unprecedented times. The 240 minutes include consultation and documentation in addition to direct student services. That figure is an average — most people have found themselves working more hours on some days than others.
 



Do I have to notify my administrator of my schedule?

Yes, the side letter says that to provide students and parents with consistency and avoid scheduling conflicts, unit members who are not teachers shall create, share, and follow a regular weekly schedule of services and office hours per week. Provide advance notification to students, parents, and supervisors if a change to the schedule becomes necessary. 
 



As an HHS professional, can I use live video to provide services to students?

The side letter states that live video is not mandated. The district takes this further with their guidelines for School Health and Human Services (SHHS) Personnel during COVID-19 school closures that provide specific instructions for connecting with students and parents through the telephone and Amazon Connect. All School Health and Human Services staff should review this document, which includes guidelines for how to address confidentiality concerns and protocols for acquiring consent from a parent to speak with the student.
 



I serve more than one school, and I’m getting conflicting requests for services — for example, two administrators want me on a Zoom meeting at the same time.

Itinerant health and human services staff often have multiple schools and principals. Communicate with your supervisor regarding your schedule and the meetings you are unable to make. If you can't make a meeting, you could circle back after and see if there is anything major you missed, but there is no mandate to do so.
 



LAUSD has said that itinerant arts teachers need to provide two 30-minute recorded lessons each week. Is this required?

No, our side letter agreement with LAUSD says no specific instructional delivery system is required.  Engagement options include recorded video, live audio, recorded audio, and written guidance. The district memo called “Work Expectations for Certificated NonClassroom Staff 4-21-20" was actually drafted before our side letter and therefore did not take into account the flexible scheduling. The two 30-minute sessions in the document are a suggestion and not a mandate.
  



What if I don’t have the equipment needed to do my work?

As it states in our side letter, you should contact your supervisor or school principal for needed equipment to work from home. For HHS staff, the district has ordered equipment, but does not know when all members will have the needed equipment and connectivity to work from home. Management has agreed with UTLA that there is a need to be flexible to accommodate employees who may have issues using technology, or having access to technology. 
 



I work for four different schools, and each principal is asking for different tasks, done in different ways. The lack of consistency is overwhelming.

Administrators have been told they need to be as flexible as possible. All the work HHS professionals and itinerants are doing is more complicated in this environment, and the lack of consistency between schools and local districts adds to that burden. Focus on what is possible and share concerns with your supervisor or administrators.
 



When schools open, will school nurses have the safety equipment and gear for protection?

Health and safety protection is a priority that will be negotiated with the district before going back to school. The safety and health of every student and educator must be considered, and UTLA will push back on any attempt to open schools before it is safe.
 



How will assignments for HHS be handled for next year? 

Management will work on a process to collect assignment preferences as they have in previous years. This time it will be a little different due to the current remote learning conditions. Your geographical residence and skills for a particular program will continue to be part of what is considered when making assignments.  
 



For PSWs, what are the expectations for Community Outreach Services?

Documentation is still expected as an essential function of the delivery of services, which continues to be 30 minutes a day, but we have stressed with LAUSD the need to be as flexible as possible, given the workload and competing demands and requests.
  

 

 

HHS PAY

Will Health and Human Services professionals continue to receive their regular pay and benefits during the school closure? 

UTLA Bargaining Unit Members will have no loss of regular base pay or benefits during the school closure. All contractual differentials shall continue to be paid for the second semester of the 2019- 2020 school year.

 

PARENTS *CLICK TO VIEW INFO*

 

 

SCHOOL YEAR CLOSURE TIMELINE

 

 

LAUSD has announced that the 2020-21 school year will start on the previously scheduled date — August 18 — but does that mean that school facilities will reopen?

No, it does not mean necessarily that physical school facilities will reopen on August 18. The school year could begin with distance learning. 


How do we return to school safely?

In bargaining with LAUSD, UTLA will be negotiating the terms for a safe return. You will be part of those discussions and we’ll be in constant contact over the summer. We are not going to allow anyone to be forced back to work in unsafe conditions.

 

END-OF-YEAR PROTOCOLS


What are the procedures for closing out our classrooms and end-of-year things like CUMs?

The district is working on protocols that should be ready next week. Our bargaining team will be reviewing them and we'll share info with you.

 

Even under LAUSD’s new protocols, won’t closing out schools be challenging?

All the critical things we do at the end of the school year — packing up classrooms, textbook collection, and closing out cums and final progress reports — are more difficult under this public health crisis. As LAUSD developed its Closing the School Year policy memo, UTLA argued for as much time as possible to be given to complete this work, for adherence to safety guidelines consistent with direction from public health authorities, and for alternative arrangements to be available for high-risk staff. 

If safety protocols are not being observed, if members are not being provided with appropriate flexibility, or if administrators are making unreasonable requests or demands, contact your chapter chair, who should then contact UTLA.

What's the deadline for packing up our classrooms and offices?

Under LAUSD's Closing the School Year policy memo, you have until June 30 this year to pick up your instructional and personal belongings. As LAUSD developed its procedures, UTLA argued for as much time as possible to be given to complete this work, for adherence to safety guidelines consistent with direction from public health authorities, and for alternative arrangements to be available for high-risk staff. If safety protocols are not being observed, if members are not being provided with appropriate flexibility, or if administrators are making unreasonable requests or demands, contact your chapter chair, who should then contact UTLA.

 

Am I mandated to go to school and clean out my classroom?

For members unable to come to school and participate in closing protocols because of a high-risk factor (including childcare issues), the LAUSD policy calls for chapter chairs and administrators to work together to come to an alternative arrangement. Site administrators need to be as collaborative and flexible as possible, and we’ve already heard of creative solutions that some schools are devising. 

If educators need assistance mailing out the final progress report, they should refer to the process outlined in the FAQ of the Mark Reporting Guidelines from LAUSD.

 

SUMMER SCHOOL & ESY


Are there more details about the expanded summer school program?

Classes will be all online and will start in mid-June. More details on how the program will work are being finalized, but classes will cover these areas:

• Credit recovery and intervention for high-need students

• Literacy and math for all students in grades pre-K through 12 

• Enrichment learning for all students


Is summer school mandatory for all students?

No, it is not mandatory, but for the first time, summer school will be open to all students who wish to participate. Credit recovery and intervention will be limited to students who need the programs the most.


How will LAUSD be staffing summer school?

Our current contract language (Article XX) on summer school is still in place.


Will ESY be held virtually?

Yes, ESY (Extended School Year) for special education students will be held virtually starting on June 29 and will run through July 24.  Members who applied to teach ESY will be hearing from the district soon. Please encourage parents of children with IEPs to enroll their children for ESY. They can do so by visiting the LAUSD Parent Portal or by calling the Division of Special Ed at 213-241-6701.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUMMER SCHOOL & ESY



Are there more details about the expanded summer school program?

Classes will be all online and will start in mid-June. More details on how the program will work are being finalized, but classes will cover these areas:
    •    Credit recovery and intervention for high-need students
    •    Literacy and math for all students in grades pre-K through 12 
    •    Enrichment learning for all students

Is summer school mandatory for all students?

No, it is not mandatory, but for the first time, summer school will be open to all students who wish to participate. Credit recovery and intervention will be limited to students who need the programs the most.

How will LAUSD be staffing summer school?

Our current contract language (Article XX) on summer school is still in place.

Will ESY be held virtually?

Yes, ESY (Extended School Year) for special education students will be held virtually starting on June 29 and will run through July 24.  Members who applied to teach ESY will be hearing from the district soon. Please encourage parents of children with IEPs to enroll their children for ESY. They can do so by visiting the LAUSD Parent Portal or by calling the Division of Special Ed at 213-241-6701.


 

 

 

 

ACCESS TO SCHOOL CLASSROOM

Will I have access to my school and classroom?

Yes. Access to campus should be coordinated with your administrator. Additionally, any valuables should be locked up.

 

SPECIAL EDUCATION

*There are still many questions regarding Special Education, and we are working with other unions in the state to demand clearer guidelines from the state and federal government and support for students with IEPs.

 

As a general ed teacher, I’m concerned about the time virtual IEP sessions are taking.
 
It’s critical in this time of crisis, when our most vulnerable students are at risk, that we continue to uphold the rights of special education students.

One time-management strategy that has worked for some general education teachers is to ask to be put on the agenda at the start of the virtual IEP meeting, so your participation has a more predictable start and end time.

 

What are the guidelines for IEPs?

Our special education community has been incredibly vocal and passionate in pressing for answers on how to serve their students. We now have clarity on some issues with IEPs. Special education administrators and designees are being trained in conducting virtual IEPs. Once that training is complete and meetings are scheduled, IEPs with completed assessments or no assessments required will proceed virtually. If this weren't to happen, we would have a cumbersome backlog down the road and student services would suffer. 

IEPs with unfinished assessments will not occur. The district will provide a statement for section 2 of FAPE 2 that indicates the offer of FAPE will continue when schools reopen.

As these IEPs are being scheduled, use our side letter to make sure your 240-minute workday is honored. IEP meetings are part of that 240 minutes. 

What are the guidelines for Special Education teachers of students?

• Special Education teachers of students with moderate to severe disabilities will provide continuity of learning through a variety of distance learning resources as appropriate so that students with moderate to severe disabilities have access to the same learning opportunities as other students, to the extent practical. 

 

What are we doing on the federal level to support Special Education now and post-COVID?
It is our hope to partner with our national affiliates (NEA and AFT) to ensure the civil rights protections provided under IDEA continue to be upheld through the COVID crisis. While this moment is inherently defined by the need for flexibility, especially as it relates to IEP timelines, we want to make sure that IDEA waivers that may be granted are limited in scope and do not linger a moment beyond the pandemic. Under the CARES act, Education Secretary DeVos has been directed to provide Congress a list of the waivers that will be needed for states to implement IDEA.
 
We know when it is safe for students to return to school, they will require even greater resources than our districts previously had in their tool kits. This will require more special education teachers, more counselors, more nurses, and more service providers and targeted services to build our students up. Over the last month, the federal government has shown it is capable of extraordinary funding to prioritize the needs of corporations and the market. It is crucial that we demand they do the same for our public schools and especially our most vulnerable students.

 

Resource Specialist Teachers

Special Ed memo to RSTs: We've heard from many Resource Specialist Teachers about the tedious and time-consuming requests in the new memo from the LAUSD Special Education Division about documenting distance service sessions. We have reached out to the district and will push back on these unnecessary change

What are the guidelines for Resource Specialist Teachers (RSTs) and Inclusion teachers?

• Resource Specialist Teachers (RSTs) and Inclusion Teachers will work collaboratively with core content teachers to adapt lessons according to the student’s IEP.

What is the REVISED guidance on Welligent?

For compliance reasons it is important that all Service Providers and Resource Specialists log the servicing of their students as well as documenting attempted contact on Welligent. This is the only required form of documenting.  Changes in logging were made because the Welligent calendar has been adjusted due to the closure. “A service target is no longer being calculated and minutes will not be accrued,” according to the revised guidance from LAUSD. If you need time to go back and input services provided, please inform your administrator. Your 240 minutes a day may include communicating with parents and students, direct instruction, planning and/or co-planning, student support, IEP writing, IEP participation, as well as IEP logging. We encourage all service providers, including RSTs, to make necessary adjustments to their schedules as they see fit. Special Day Class teachers may continue using MISIS or opt to use Welligent. 

 

 

SUBSTITUTES *CLICK TO VIEW INFO*

 


OTHER

 

SALARY & HEALTHCARE

 

Funding

Is the current economic crisis more severe than the one in 2008?
 
If we look at the numbers, there is every reason to believe this crisis will be far deeper and longer than the recession of 2008. More than 36 million people are unemployed in the US, and 55% of Angelenos do not have a job. Gavin Newsom’s latest budget has a 13% cut to funding for public education at a time when we know that schools will need more money — not less — to open safely and provide students with the extra support they need.
 
In the aftermath of the 2008 crisis, LAUSD laid off thousands of educators and UTLA members took furlough days, and we must prepare for the district to try to take the same approach. We have to get in front of this fight before 2008 becomes our new reality. Our coalition of teachers’ unions in seven of the largest cities in the state — San Francisco, Oakland, San Diego, Berkeley, Richmond, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles — are united behind a joint vision with three key demands:

1 We oppose any cuts and demand a federal bailout for public education and social services.  We will not allow privatization through distance learning.

2 We will vote for the Schools and Communities First initiative in November to raise $11 billion in new money for schools and social services.

3 We demand that the healthcare, economic, housing, and workplace needs of our students and families be met.

The first step of our fight is having every UTLA member sign the Classrooms and Communities Over Cuts joint petition and commit to demanding funding for our schools and the needs of our students. 

Given all the terrible news about the economy, are layoffs and budget cuts inevitable? 


That’s what many in the corporate sector and the government want us to believe — that everyone has to “tighten their belts” and take a hit to offset the impacts of the global pandemic. The truth is the federal government’s budget is not like your family’s budget — families can’t print money, for example, or pass tax increases on the ultra-wealthy. In a time when US billionaires added $282 billion to their combined wealth in just three weeks during this crisis, there is money in this economy that can be redirected to public education and social services, and we are prepared to fight for it. 

 

Will school staff be paid for the closure?

• Educators will have no loss of regular pay or benefits during the school closure. 

• All contractual differentials will be paid for the second semester of the 2019-20 school year.

• Teachers will continue to receive auxiliary pay based on performing duties virtually or otherwise.

• National Board Certified Teachers will continue to receive the 7.5% differential by conducting distance learning. For the other 7.5%, NBCTs not able to reach the 92 hours this year will receive a portion of the 7.5% equal to the percentage of NBC hours already accumulated and can make up the difference for the remaining portion of the 7.5% differential in the 2020-21 school year.

 

Will the district experience staff layoffs for the next school year?

This week, Beutner said that he expects no staff layoffs for next school year, but with the state budget not yet unveiled, it’s unclear if that will hold. Under normal circumstances, school districts have until March 15 to issue pink slips to educators for the following school year, but August layoffs could be triggered under emergency funding conditions. California is facing a shortfall of between $35 billion and $80 billion. Federal assistance will be needed to keep our communities from being decimated, yet Congress's latest pandemic relief measure contained no money for state governments. 

UTLA is ready to defend public education with a “no cuts” platform (no loss to employee healthcare, student programs, or educators) merged with a deep reinvestment in schools and social services to counter the traumatic impact of the economic, political, and public health crisis we’re living with. More details about our organizing strategy will roll out at our Area meetings for chapter leaders in April and May. Be sure to attend your weekly chapter meetings for info.

 

FSAs

 

Because of COVID-19, I’m taking care of my children at home. What can I do about the contributions I am making to the childcare FSA? 

LAUSD says that you may be eligible to make increases or decreases to your dependent care flexible spending account (also known as “dependent care assistance program” or “DCAP”) in some situations, including:

• Change of day care provider

• Cost of care changes (unless care provider is a relative)

• Need for care changes due to a job change or change of work hours

Contact the district’s benefits office for more information.


Under the stay-at-home orders, I’m not seeing my doctor regularly and I likely won’t use all the money in my FSA. Can I decrease the amount being deducted?

Under IRS rules and the LAUSD plan documents, LAUSD says that employees generally cannot make changes to their Health Care FSA elections unless they have a specific “qualifying life event,” such as getting married or having a child. The district says that there have not been any newly issued IRS modifications of these rules. Contact the district’s benefits office for more information. FSA change to note: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) expanded the list of eligible items to include over-the-counter medicines (these treatments no longer require a prescription) and menstrual care products.

 

 

Employee Evaluations 

Will I get dinged on my evaluation if I am out sick?

Administrators have been instructed not to use absences negatively on evaluations. Also, for students, LAUSD has suspended attendance campaigns and incentives so as not to encourage ill children to attend school.

Overall, what will happen to employee evaluations?

• If the steps of the evaluation process up to and including the formal observation were completed before March 13, the administrator will issue the final evaluation. If the steps of the evaluation process were not completed to that stage by March 13, the employee will be re-rostered for evaluation for the 2020-2021 school year unless mutually agreed upon by both parties. 

 

 

Grading

 

ELEMENTARY GRADES

IOC Elementary Schools Mark Reporting Document
Download

What are the main takeaways from the district's new guidance for elementary school grading?

Guidance for Elementary Progress Report Marks is now available and should be referred to as teachers begin to start inputting student grades. As per our MOU, students will not receive a lesser grade than their grade as of March 13, 2020. The memo also mentions that no 1s shall be issued. However, a modified academic score of 2 is defined as Limited Progress or Progressing toward meeting grade-level standards. Refer to the memo for guidance on subject areas that may have been modified to allow for an NA to be assigned. Clarification on procedures to ensure that parents/guardians are provided warning notices, guidance on retention, and a process on delivering the final Progress Reports to parents/guardians is also in the memo.

 

How do educators handle the grading of our students? 

The grading window has been pushed back to April 14. The state has said that students should be held harmless — in other words, they can’t get a lower grade than they had before the closure.

• In recognition of the gap in home learning resources, students will be “held harmless” and will not receive a lesser grade than their grade as of March 13.

• Teachers have the discretion to give students a higher grade. 

• State and district assessments scheduled for after March 13 have been suspended.

 

I’m aware of the “hold harmless” provision in the UTLA-LAUSD side letter that says students are not to get a lower grade than they had as of March 13. But I am also hearing about a “no F” policy?

During bargaining, UTLA and LAUSD discussed the benefits of a “no fail” policy — that secondary students would not receive F’s and elementary students would not receive 1’s. This week LAUSD announced that students will not receive failing grades. Since this is not in our side letter, the district is in charge of what exactly they roll out (for example, if it applies to 15-week and 20-week grades) and when exactly they roll it out (for example, now or later in the year). Please note that F’s were able to be given on the report cards completed this week.
 
On a related note, we are pressing LAUSD to not mandate summer school for students who earned a D grade, for the same reasons we support the “hold harmless” and “no fail” policies. We know there is a huge digital divide among our students, with many not having reliable access to the internet, devices, or a place to study at home. Others may be taking on new work or care-taking roles as families struggle through the economic crisis instigated by the pandemic. It’s also simply an issue of fairness: Even students who weren't doing well as of March 13 still had three months of school where they could have accessed in-person intervention to improve their grade, and that's no longer possible.

More on "no fail" grading policy - LAUSD issued guidance this week and an FAQ on the “no fail” policy. Since this policy is not in our side letter, the district is in charge of when and how they roll it out. 
 
We discussed the benefits of “no fail” during bargaining and agree that the policy is justified in these unprecedented times. We know there is a huge digital divide among our students — 85% of whom come from low-income families — with many not having reliable access to the internet, devices, or a place to study at home. Others may be taking on new work or care-taking roles as families struggle through the economic crisis instigated by the pandemic, and all students are going without that human connection that is so fundamental to learning. 
 
As far as the additional steps LAUSD has outlined before giving a D grade, including working with the student, your school counselor, and administrator, that work is included in your 240-minute work day. We negotiated guardrails around your work day to help ensure that educators have the time to work on issues like this.

 

 

Illness

Will I get paid if I am under quarantine or out sick? 

District officials have indicated that they intend to pay all school staff who are not able to work because they are under quarantine or out ill.
 

Do I need a doctor’s note if I am out sick?

No, the district has said that you do not need a doctor’s note during this time.
 
What if I am out sick with an illness other than the coronavirus?
You should stay home. The district has indicated that you will not need to use sick time to do so.

 

PE minutes for  elementary schools

 

Did the state issue a waiver for certifying PE minutes for elementary teachers?

Not yet. LAUSD has applied for a state waiver and our state affiliates, CTA and CFT, are working on a statewide waiver, which makes sense inasmuch as it’s impossible to verify that students have actually completed the PE in your weekly plan. You can hold off on submitting the certification for now, but be sure to continue to include PE activities on your weekly schedule for your students

 

Am I required to submit verification of teaching the state-required PE minutes?

Elementary teachers received an automatic reminder this week to submit verification of teaching the state-required PE minutes. Our state affiliates, the CTA and CFT, are working on getting a waiver for this requirement, which we expect will happen. Even if PE is built into a distance learning lesson plan, it is very difficult to certify that the PE has taken place.

 

Probation Educators 

 

How do the school closures impact contracts for probationary teachers?
The process stays the same. Probationary 2 educators are guaranteed employment for the following school year and achieve permanent status unless they are provided notification of non-reelection by March 15. Probationary 1 educators will automatically become Prob 2 on the first workday of the next school year if retained for employment, but state law allows the district to non-reelect a Prob 1 educator up through June 30. 

 

 

Professional Development

 

When will we get paid the $500 for the April LAUSD PD?
 
LAUSD says that teachers who completed the Continuity of Learning PD by the April deadline will be paid on July 10 in a separate check (not on your regular paycheck). 

 

How is LAUSD paying for the $1,000 stipend for optional PD? Will it contribute to the district’s budget problems?
 
LAUSD has done some things right with its financial resources during this crisis — like serving hundreds of thousands of meals each day for families in need — but we are not convinced the $1,000 stipend is one of them. This stipend was not part of our bargaining. It was an action taken by LAUSD on its own — and proof of an unfortunate reality that the district often finds the money it needs when it comes to their own priorities.
 
LAUSD must be just as resourceful and proactive when facing the budget impacts of the coronavirus recession. We call on LAUSD to commit to a “no cuts” vision for our schools and to join UTLA in fighting for an infusion of state and federal funding to stop the decimation we saw in 2008, when employees were laid off and student programs were cut to the bone. We must emerge from this crisis with no district agenda to move privatization through more distance learning and we must emerge with more resources for education, public health, and social infrastructure — not less. There’s always money to bail out corporations and the rich — we demand money to help our students and communities come out of this crisis stronger, not weaker.

 

What are the PD requirements expected of educators?

The four sessions that educators need to complete by April 17 are still required (the number of this round of PD will total 5, counting the March 27 session). If there are continued technical problems, we will make sure the deadline is changed. Under our new agreement, there are serious guardrails going forward about PD mandates. Required PD will be limited to distance learning strategies and use of technology during the month of April. Any required PD other than the existing PD referred to above must be no longer than one hour and will take the place of any faculty/department/grade level meeting scheduled for the same week.

 

I’m still having technical trouble completing the LAUSD PD before the April 17 deadline. What can I do?

PD: Deadline extension and new stipends - LAUSD has agreed to extend the deadline to finish the @Home Continuity of Learning PD sessions to April 30. We have been pushing for the extension in light of tech issues and just general work overload. To LAUSD’s credit, they realize how difficult it has been and are offering a $500 stipend for completing the PD. They are also offering $1,000 for completing an additional optional 30 hours. Consistent with our side letter, this additional PD is voluntary. See the LAUSD memo for more info. Deadline to apply for the optional PD is April 22.

 

CREDENTIALING


 
What if I need to pass the CBEST as part of my credential program?

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing has developed some provisions to provide flexibility where possible for teacher prep programs and credentialing issues. For the CBEST, the commission has deferred this requirement for teacher prep programs for up to one year. Read more here.
 
My credential is expiring, and there are some requirements I can’t meet because of the COVID shutdown.

The commission will extend expiring credentials, including intern credentials, for one year even if none of the stated requirements were met. This extension of time is available to the following document types: 

• Preliminary Teaching Credentials 

• Preliminary Services Credentials 

• Emergency Permits 

• Child Development Permits 

• Intern Credentials 

 
The commission also authorized the renewal of clear teaching or services credentials if you are unable to apply for timely renewal due to COVID-19. Read more here.
 
Because of COVID, I can’t meet the required 600 hours of clinical practice for my teacher prep program.

For Multiple and Single Subject programs, the Commission on Teacher Credentialing is allowing teacher preparation programs the authority to determine if you have completed sufficient clinical practice hours even if you haven’t completed all 600 hours. Read more here on these and other flexibilities the commission has developed related credentialing, including CBEST requirements and what to do about expiring credentials. 

 

School supplies

What if my school does not have soap, sanitizer, and paper towels?
The district is distributing weekly care packages of sanitizer, soap, and paper towels. We are calling for a designated team at each school to handle distribution of the weekly care packages. If your school is either not receiving these materials or not distributing them, call the LAUSD hotline at (213) 443-1300. The hotline is open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Standardized Testing

Any updates on testing? 
We are advocating for all mandated standardized testing to be canceled. Newsom signed an executive order, pending federal approval, canceling all standardized testing this year. 

 

AP Exams

Are AP exams being postponed?
The College Board is looking into allowing students to take AP exams at home.

 

Student Communication

How should I communicate with my students?

We encourage all educators to check in with their students regularly to ease anxiety and to support their ongoing learning while at home. As always, adhere to the code of conduct with students, which includes not conducting individual virtual meetings.

If schools are closed, are we going to have to engage with students  from home via online chats, Skype, etc?
We have concerns about access to wifi, equipment, and much-needed training. We are asking that the online resources be self-directed for students.

How should I be working with my students under these conditions?

Using a variety of electronic and online resources, stay in touch with students and parents, and be ready to update what you’re asking them to do. The district is willing to be flexible on this; there are many members with creative ideas who are communicating across the city. 

 

UTLA during shutdown

Will UTLA be closed during the LAUSD shutdown?

UTLA will be open, with employees working remotely. Staff will be available during working hours to communicate with members as usual. Call 213-487-5560 if you need help.

 
How will UTLA communicate with members?
We will continue to post updates to our website and send emails as needed. We’ll also be streaming updates live on social media.

 

WORKDAY

 

Classroom Teachers - What To Do

If I’m a classroom teacher, what should I do?

This is not a work stoppage. Teachers should be in communication with their administrators, parents and students to provide a continuity of learning by using a variety of online resources and communications without being able to be with your students in person.

Exemptions from working

Who is exempted from working during this time?

Nobody is exempted at this time, as it is not a work stoppage. That being said, UTLA members are not required to report to a work site at this time. 

 

School Work Day Hours

What will school work day hours look like during the closure, and what is required of educators during the work day? 

• The work day for all UTLA members is flexible and should total on average 240 minutes. Planning, office hours, required professional development, faculty, department and grade level meetings all count toward the 240 minutes.

• To provide students and parents with consistency and to avoid scheduling conflicts, teachers shall create, share, and follow a regular weekly schedule of instruction, student support, and three office hours per week.

• Members can be required to participate in only one one-hour faculty meeting, grade level meeting, or department meeting per week, to be held during the contractual workday.

 

Two week lesson plans

My principal is telling me to prepare two weeks of lesson plans. Is that accurate?
The district has instructed principals to be flexible during this crisis. Preparing two weeks of detailed lesson plans is not feasible. Teachers should review resources (online and in print) with students and make sure all students have used the sign-on to access online platforms. The district's Teacher Resources flyer suggests that teachers consider projects that can be done independently, such as reading logs, book reviews, and journaling. The district has committed to creating the time to do this work, including through grade level/department meeting time, coverage time, partnering with teacher colleagues, advisories, and homerooms. Principals have been advised to raise teacher copy quotas as necessary.

I’m still being pressured to finish two weeks of lesson plans. Do I need to do this?

At this point, there has been no clear directive from the district requiring detailed lesson plans for two weeks. However, we encourage members to use current available resources to support the continuity of learning of our students.

 

Matrix and Coordinator/Dean Elections 2020

 

What's the deadline for completing the matrix?

Staffing selections should be completed by May 22, per contract language that says teachers should be notified of their tentative assignments no later than 21 calendar days prior to the teacher’s last work day. All schools should be following the usual process for the matrix and coordinator/dean selection in Article XI-A of the UTLA-LAUSD Contract, but with everything being done virtually. Our Matrix Checklist for Chapter Chairs can be a guide through the process.

For selecting full-time coordinators and/or dean positions, Survey Monkey can be used to elect or confirm staff for these positions. Most critically for the matrix, principals must share the matrix (via email) before teachers make their selection. The process for the selections can be done on a Zoom call with everyone (like our “all call”—the preferred method) or possibly as a conference call, which must include the administrator, chapter chair, and members called in seniority order. Members must be notified to be available at predetermined times for these matrix selection conference calls.

 

What  if I don't have my assignment yet for next year?
 
Staffing selections should be completed by this Friday, May 22, per contract language that says teachers should be notified of their tentative assignments no later than 21 calendar days prior to the teacher’s last work day. For issues with assignments, there is a Dispute Resolution process that can be followed (outlined in the Matrix Checklist for Chapter Chairs).

 

How will we do the matrix and coordinator/dean elections this year?
We will be following the usual process for the matrix and coordinator/dean selection in Article XI-A, Section 6.1 of the UTLA-LAUSD Contract, but everything will be done virtually. This week, chapter leaders were sent a Matrix Checklist to ensure that all the procedures will be followed. 
 
For selecting full-time coordinators and/or dean positions, Survey Monkey can be used to elect or confirm staff for these positions. Most critically for the matrix, principals must share the matrix (via email) before teachers make their selection. The process for the selections can be done on a Zoom call with everyone (like our “all call”—the preferred method) or possibly as a conference call, which must include the administrator, chapter chair, and members called in seniority order. Members must be notified to be available at predetermined times for these matrix selection conference calls.


 

 

Principals violating new agreement

 

My principal is violating the new agreement, trying to hold multiple staff meetings a week. What can we do?

Bring up any violations with your chapter leaders and form a plan to push back united. Our agreement was created to foster a reasonable work/life balance in these unprecedented times, and we all have a responsibility to stand together with our colleagues and ensure that our rights are respected. UTLA has created a six-page guide to help understand and enforce our new victories. 
 
Chapter chairs should respond to any unreasonable request from an administrator by asking them to put the request in writing. If what the principal says is not a directive, then members do not have to comply. Each chapter should work together to ensure that no member follows an unreasonable request that is not a directive. Chapter Action Teams (CATs) are our best tool to keep our chapters organized. If your school does not have a CAT, now is the time to build one, with a ratio of one CAT member for every 10 members, to help with communication, contract enforcement, and organizing.

 

Car Parades

I've heard conflicting answers. Are school car parades allowed?

In a statement released last Friday, the district approved car parades for special celebrations, including graduations, quoting a Los Angeles County Emergency Operations announcement on this topic. This is different from a prior advisory the county had issued on May 16. The district added that the parades, as well as any other activities or celebrations, must meet all social distancing and safety guidelines issued by the Los Angeles County health authorities.