I hope that you are staying healthy and taking good care of yourselves and your your loved ones. This update is intended to keep you informed about some current work-related issues and to respond to some frequently asked questions that we are receiving:
– Staying in touch with your students. Teachers are doing a phenomenal job to remain in communication with their students through Google Classroom, Zoom, Brain Pop, Zearn or other educational technology. Your continued dedication to your students, while at the same time attending to your own family needs, is truly admirable. Please know that you should be guided by your own professional judgement and trusted to do so. Suggestions from your supervisors and administrators are just that: recommendations. You know your students best and how to best support their continued learning.
– Beyond the call of duty. This week’s Rochester Teachers Care video <https://youtu.be/r68C2oxzKhI> highlights two teachers from School #2, Priscilla Street and Sue Lavonas, and how they are delivering instructional materials and support to their students. It exemplifies what so many teachers are doing to show their commitment to their work and especially to their students. Remember, though, that this segment was filmed at the very beginning of school closing. Whatever you do now must be within the parameters of what the health experts and governmental authorities designate during this rapidly evolving public health emergency. Your safety is paramount.– What parents could do. In an effort to support parents and families in their desire to help their children’s learning at home, I have submitted an essay to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that was published in today’s edition. It is based on the professional knowledge and collective wisdom of teachers. You can access it here <https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/opinion/2020/03/23/rochester-coronavirus-rcsd-what-parents-can-do-help-their-children-learn-home/2895821001/>. Feel free to share it and use it in any way you wish.
– RCSD’s budget process. To the best of our knowledge, the Rochester City School District’s Board of Education will meet tomorrow to discuss the budget proposal for the 2020-2021 school year. Some reductions in costs are likely to be included. We will continue to advocate for what’s best for students and their teachers, to closely monitor these developments and to keep you informed about the progress of our efforts on your behalf.
– Status of Spring Break. We do not yet know what will happen with the scheduled Spring recess. It all depends on how long schools will remain closed and on what continues in this rapidly evolving global health pandemic. We will communicate to you whatever we know as soon as we learn it.
– Frequently Asked Questions. In a couple days, you will receive through this email list the first in a series of FAQ documents – answers to specific and frequently asked questions. We will try to make that a weekly communication for the duration of the time that schools remain closed. This week’s edition will address questions related to teacher transfers; Professional Development Incentive; compensation for Contract Substitutes, Long-Term Substitutes, Building Substitutes and Per Diem Substitutes; and other specific issues. If you have specific questions to suggest, please let us know and we will be sure to include them.
To comply with the New York State and Monroe County Health Department requirements, and to protect the health and safety of RTA officers and staff, the RTA office will remain closed until it is permissible and safe to reopen. But we are all continuing our work and services to you remotely. You can find contact information to reach any one of us by visiting the RTA website <www.rochesterteachers.com>. You can also leave a voice message at the RTA (585 546 2681).
Stay safe during this perilous time.
Adam Urbanski, RTA President