A. Instructional Techniques
A teacher shall base differential educational experience on the differing needs and abilities of students by utilizing styles and procedures of instruction which he/she believes to be most effective in his/her classroom, providing such methods of instruction conform to and implement the instructional objectives of the District. Any dispute which may arise regarding the styles and methods of instruction employed by an individual teacher shall be subject to administrative review by the administrative officers of the District up to and including the Superintendent, whose decision shall be final and binding and not subject to the Grievance and Arbitration Procedures set forth in this Agreement.
B. Classroom Learning Conditions
1. The Board and the Association agree it is in the best interests of the District, employees, and students to insure the proper academic atmosphere and positive classroom learning conditions by maintaining classroom control through means which are reasonable in form and moderate in degree, and toward this end the Board shall support the employee in conformity with State law.
2. Upon receiving same, an administrator will release legally allowable general information in a timely manner to individual employees relating to specific emotional, behavior and safety concerns for students in the employee’s charge.
3. In order to create and sustain such classroom learning conditions and control, employees shall refer students with behavioral problems to the appropriate support staff through the building principal or his/her designee.
4. When a student is seriously disrupting or impairing the effective instruction of other students in the class, the employee may cause the student to be immediately removed from the classroom, office, hallway, cafeteria, playground, bathroom, student arrival and dismissal points, or other school locations, and in such case the student shall be required to report to the principal/administrator, or his/her designee. Such temporary removal shall not exceed the balance of the school day during which the incident occurred. The principal/administrator and the employee shall have a joint responsibility to communicate with regard to the action taken by the principal/administrator on the referral. Such communication shall occur as soon as reasonably possible after the referral is made by the teacher. It is expected that if a student is referred repeatedly to the principal/administrator, the teacher and the principal/administrator will meet to discuss strategies, and resources, to prevent further disruption. In the event a principal/administrator believes a teacher has exercised the right of removal to excess, and/or without justification, the principal shall review the situation with the teacher with regard to what action, if any, is to be taken concerning the student(s) in question. There shall not, however, be an absolute denial of the teacher's right to remove a disruptive student from the classroom.
5. Removal for a longer period of time or permanent removal may be requested by the teacher. When such a request is made, the student may not be returned to the classroom until there has been a prompt determination of proper placement of the student by the principal after consultation with and among the teacher, support staff, and parents.
6. The District and the Association recognize the educational benefit of an academic environment which provides stability, safety and security for students and employees, both individually and collectively, and in each school building as well as throughout the entire District and its various locations and facilities. In an effort to insure that such an academic environment is achieved, free to the fullest possible extent of disruptive activities, the District and Association agree to the following procedures with regard to student discipline and its implementation:
a. A copy of the policy of the Board of Education of the Syracuse City School District entitled Regulations For Student Behavior (hereinafter referred to as “Code of Conduct”), including disciplinary actions and suspension procedures, shall be posted in each school building and distributed to staff, students and parents of students on the opening day of school or as soon thereafter as practicable or, for those students who matriculate to the District during the school year, upon such students' initial registration in the District;
b. Should a teacher believe that a particular disciplinary situation, as it has been processed and resolved within the framework of the building procedures, is detrimental to the academic environment of the District (as set forth in subsection 5 above), he or she shall have the right to petition the Labor Management Team of the school in question with the teacher or administrator involved, to be part of the meeting procedure as provided in Article 22B (Association and Board Rights) and the Association/District Operational Guidelines for Labor Management Teams. Notice of such referral to the Labor Management Team shall be provided to the administrator at least one (1) week in advance of the Labor Management Team meeting at which the matter is to be discussed. If the issue is not resolved at the Labor Management Team level, the Labor Management Team shall make a recommendation to the Superintendent, or designee, who shall render a final and binding decision within ten (10) school days.
c. Nothing contained herein (or in Article 22D) shall be construed as limiting discussion of the matter informally by the teacher and the appropriate member of the Building Administration prior to being referred to the Labor Management Team. The parties agree that such meetings should be helpful in having the matter informally resolved prior to implementing the procedure. Any disposition resulting from such meeting shall not create a precedent binding upon either the Association or the Board in other similar matters, unless the Association and the District determine otherwise.
7. Individual experienced teachers who are temporarily experiencing serious difficulties in classroom management due to class composition or external events impacting upon student discipline and learning, may seek and shall receive assistance from the local school and District resources, including mentors, peer coaches, etc., within a month of his/her request. Use of the procedure shall not replace obligations as they exist between the teacher and the principal as outlined in the Model for Practitioner Evaluation.
C. Transporting Students
At no time shall teachers of the Unit be required to transport students in their own private vehicles. The District shall issue an Administrative Bulletin at the beginning of each school year which shall enumerate the specific procedures that must be followed prior to any employee being granted administrative permission to voluntarily transport a student in his/her private vehicle. Included in that bulletin shall be reference to potential financial risks to the teacher, in the event that an accident occurs during such use.
D. Discipline/Discharge of Tenured Teacher
No tenured teacher shall be disciplined or discharged except for just cause and in accordance with procedures set forth in § 3020-a of the New York State Education Law.
E. Termination of Probationary Teachers
1. A probationary teacher must have completed one (1) full year of service in the District and be serving in his/her second year before he/she may avail himself/herself of the provisions of this section of Article 6 (Rights and Responsibilities).
2. In accordance with New York State Education Law § 3031, if a probationary teacher is to be terminated or denied tenure, he/she shall be notified in writing of this fact by the Superintendent or his/her designee not later than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the meeting at which the recommendation will be considered by the Board. If a serious disciplinary matter is involved, the teacher may be suspended immediately, pending the outcome of investigation and any hearing which may be held pursuant to this Article.
3. The teacher shall be entitled to a hearing on the reasons for his/her dismissal if he/she notifies the Superintendent or his/her designee to this effect, in writing, no later than five (5) school days following receipt of the termination notice or a diligent effort by the District to so notify. Failure to file for a hearing within the five (5) days shall be considered as a waiver of the application of this Article except for the application of § 3031 of the Education Law.
4. Upon receipt of the teacher’s written request for a hearing, he/she shall be informed of the reason(s) for termination by the Superintendent or designee. The hearing will be scheduled within ten (10) school days of the teacher’s request, and completed within thirty (30) calendar days thereafter, by a Hearing Panel consisting of three (3) members and comprised of the Superintendent or designee, one teacher named by the Association, and a third person who shall be selected by the Superintendent and the President of the Association. Any extension beyond the thirty (30) day limitations shall be by mutual agreement of the Superintendent and the President of the Association.
5. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the rules established by the American Arbitration Association, Public Employee Relations Board and others agreed to by the Association and District. The proceedings of the hearing and the recommendation of the panel shall become a permanent part of the personnel record of the teacher. The hearings shall be closed but the teacher shall have the right to call witnesses on his/her own behalf and to cross-examine witnesses against him/her.
6. The panel shall make its decision within five (5) school days of the conclusion of the hearing. The decision shall be advisory only to the Superintendent and shall not be subject to grievance or arbitration under this Agreement or subject to appeal in any other manner.
7. In no instance shall the rules of the panel or any postponement or delay pursuant to those rules be permitted to delay the decision of the panel in such a manner that the District is estopped from further action pursuant to § 2573, § 3019a, § 3031, or any applicable sections of the Education Law.
8. The Superintendent shall, in his/her sole and exclusive discretion, determine whether he/she is going to recommend that the teacher be retained, or terminated, and such decision shall not be subject to the grievance and arbitration procedure of this Agreement. If the decision is adverse to the teacher, the Superintendent shall notify the teacher of the intention to recommend termination, and the provisions of § 3031 of the Education Law shall become operative at that point in time.
9. The provisions of this Article in all respects shall not be subject to arbitration, nor shall any provision of this Article be interpreted in any way as altering or diminishing the rights and powers of the Superintendent and the Board under § 3031 of the Education Law or any other applicable statute or regulation.
10. The provisions of this Article may be invoked only in cases of termination for cause, and may not be used in cases of reduction in the work force or layoff or other circumstances in which the performance and/or behavior of the teacher is not the matter at issue.
11. It is the intention of the parties to provide for representation of any teacher individually or by his/her Association representative except where otherwise provided by law and therefore, no party in interest may be represented under this Article by an officer, agent, or member of another employee organization.
F. Reimbursement for Loss of Personal Property
The District will reimburse teachers for items of clothing or other personal property which are damaged or destroyed when, in the course of employment, the teacher becomes involved or engaged in situations which are unusual and/or do not regularly occur, such as altercations between students and/or teachers, non-aggravated assault, fire, riot, etc. Such reimbursement shall not be made in cases where the teacher has been careless or negligent and/or has not exercised prudent judgment by wearing or otherwise displaying or possessing items which are not normally worn, used, or displayed during such course of employment, or the teacher is able to be otherwise reimbursed as a result of his/her existing insurance coverage. In no instance, however, shall such reimbursement exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500) with regard to any claim which is processed under this section.
- The District shall not be liable for the reimbursement required in this section F if the teacher refuses or fails to file the necessary reports and/or institute the necessary proceedings to facilitate police and District investigations and/or prosecutions for such incidents.
G. Resignation of Department Chairperson or Team Leader
During the term of this Agreement, it is understood and agreed that a teacher may decline the position of Department Chairperson or Team Leader, or resign there from after accepting, without adverse reflection upon the teacher.
H. District Responsibility/Hold Harmless
The District agrees to hold teachers harmless from any financial loss, including attorneys' fees, arising out of any claim, demand, suit or criminal prosecution, as a result of disciplinary action taken against any student in the District, or judgment by reason of any act by such teacher within or without the school buildings, provided such teacher, at the time of the act or omission complained of, was acting in the discharge of his/her duties within the scope of his/her employment, or under the direction of the District; it is further provided, however, that the District shall be under no obligation to satisfy any financial or other penalty imposed upon a teacher as the result of conviction of a criminal offense. It is further understood and agreed the liability of the District, as set forth in this section, shall include, but not exceed, the statutory liability set forth in § 3023, and § 3028 of the Education Law.
1. Notice of Claim
The District shall not be subject to the duty imposed in Section H of this Article unless the teacher involved shall, within ten days of the time he/she is served with any summons, complaint, process, notice, demand, or other pleading, deliver the original, or a copy of the same, to the Superintendent.
2. The District shall not be subject to the duty imposed by Section H of this Article unless the teacher involved shall, within ten (10) days of an occurrence which reasonably could be expected to result in a claim or complaint, notify the Superintendent, in writing, of the facts of said occurrence so that a timely investigation may be conducted by the District. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as a bar to a teacher exercising his/her rights under § 3023 of the Education Law or any other statute or regulation as may apply, nor shall it be construed as a bar to the Board and the Association agreeing to waive the provisions of this section.
a. Each teacher will immediately report verbally to the principal all instances of threat or assault suffered within the scope of employment. The verbal notification shall be promptly followed by a written report. The teacher shall be apprised of his/her rights through a written statement developed jointly by the Board and the Association, and are free of coercion in the exercise thereof;
b. The written report, with a copy to the Association, shall be forwarded by the principal to the Superintendent. The District will comply with any reasonable request of the teacher for information in its possession relating to the incident or the persons involved. To the extent that the matter is completely within the jurisdiction and control of the District, names of employees involved shall not be publicized or released by the Board during investigation of such incidents. Teachers assaulted by students may be relieved of teaching assignments, if necessary. School personnel involved shall be notified of the disposition of the case. The District will make every effort to see that any proceedings initiated against teachers are processed in such a way as not to reflect embarrassment or discredit on either the teacher or the District.