When you get a letter from your superintendent regarding a discontinuance, you will usually be given 7-15 days to submit a letter asking the superintendent to not discontinued your employment with the DOE. In this hard time, it’s easy to get emotional and not be able to think of anything to write other than: “Please do not do this! Don’t ruin my life.”
However there are a few important standards you must abide by if you want to be taken seriously by the Superintendent in letter form. We’ve gathered a few of the important ones. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further assistance with your appeal letter.
Some General Tips:
1. Outline your argument (I should NOT be discontinued!) using relevant, low-inference data and information that proves you to be a highly effective teacher (eg: did you collaborate in teacher teams? have leadership roles in your school? high Regents pass rate? great with parent outreach?)
2. Do NOT blame or attack students, parents, colleagues, UFT people, and administration in your letter. An angry letter will earn you no points (Example of a No-no: To say that they are a difficult group of students would be an understatement. From the very beginning of the year the students themselves expressed joy in the fact that many teachers from the previous year had not returned, a few of which they credited to their own actions. As the year progressed and students continued to test their boundaries they could easily sense a faulty system of discipline procedures that could be used to distract and degrade any possibility of a cohesive classroom experience. Many students took advantage of the varying levels of compliance my coworkers and I were able to maintain in our classrooms and when it was brought to the attention of our administrators very little besides documentation was accomplished.)
3. If your observations or letter to file show discrepancies, in your rebuttal letters SAY what the errors in those reports are and correct them! (Example of what TO WRITE: Key C4—Attention to Records and Reports, I disagree with her observation on April 30 and May 15, 2013, which imply that I failed to differentiate the lesson according to “assessment data.” On both days, students were given differentiated worksheets with various historical and contemporary article headlines on them. Instruction was broken down as follows:
Tier 3 students were given five article headlines. Beneath each headline, a two-sentence summarizing the issue described within the article. Students synthesize the article in their own words and, in a matching-column activity, match the each headline with an effect of the event on a public opinion.
Tier 2 students were given six different article headlines. Beneath each headline, a four-sentence explaining the article is listed and summarizes the article. Students synthesize the article in their own words and make predictions how this article influenced public opinion of the global, national, or local issue described in the article.
Tier 1 students were given six different article headlines. Beneath each headline, a four-sentence explaining the article is listed and summarizes the article. Students make predictions how this article influenced public opinion of the global, national, or local issue described in the article. In two paragraphs, students describe whether each article had an effect on public opinion locally, nationally, internationally, or all the above.)
4. If you sought out support to improve your teaching or classroom management, please say so in the letter. (Example: “As per Principal X’s suggestions I met with the consultant from Ramapo for Children each month and set goals for improving my classroom culture. I met with my mentor weekly to go over my lesson plans. I have attached copies of our sessions to this letter.”)
5. Please attach documents to the letter, label them as appropriate (Item A, B, C ect), and cite them in your letter. These documents will be helpful in supporting your case.
6. Have a colleague proof-read your letter before mailing it out.
Also read UFT Solidarity’s uftsolidarity.org/discontinued