Special Education Caseload Overages

For years, Special Education teachers in our District have stepped up to help with the teacher shortage. While we know that having more teachers would be an ideal situation, we want you to be aware that, for now, you can be compensated for the additional work associated with caseload overages.

Recently, we have received many questions from Special Education teachers about this issue. We wanted to give you some background as well as information on how to receive compensation for your time.

Click here to see the informational flyer.
Click here for APS Time Sheets
Click here for Additional Compensation Forms

District Proposes Insurance Premium Increase in 2019

APS announced that insurance premiums will increase in January. The proposed premium increases vary depending on the category of coverage in which the employee has enrolled. For example, an individual employee would see a $6.13 increase per pay period, while a Family Plan (Employee + 2 or more dependents) would have a $16.55 increase for each pay period. The increases will start with the January 4, 2019 paycheck.

It's important to note that APS is “self-funded” for its medical, prescription drug, dental and vision plans. That is, the District pays all claims for each plan, not the benefit carriers. APS receives a legislative appropriation for its benefit plans, which is not always sufficient. This situation reflects a nationwide problem of health coverage costs increasing at a double-digit rate.

On the heels of our first raise in four years, it’s disheartening to see some of that hard-earned increase get gobbled up by rising insurance costs. And while everyone received a gross pay increase of at least $76.92 per check, it would sure be nicer to keep every needed cent.

ATF has developed a chart showing the current (2018) premium amounts compared with the proposed 2019 premiums for each category of coverage. The insurance premium dollar figures are shown “per pay period” as well as on an “annual” basis.

Click here to download the 2018/2019 Medical Premium Comparison Chart

Prep Time, Class Size & Teaching Load

Prep Time

The demands on our time have grown steadily and this trend makes it even more important to stand up for your right to sufficient prep time. Some things to remember about your prep time (Article 5.C.):

Elementary: Teachers are entitled to a weekly minimum of 220 prep minutes per 5-day week calculated in at least 20-minute increments. If you have early release Wednesdays, you are entitled to a minimum of two consecutive hours of uninterrupted prep time on all modified Wednesdays.

Middle School: Teachers are entitled to a minimum of 225 prep minutes. Teachers are not required to attend Collaboration if the 225 minutes have not been met.

High School Block Schedule: Teachers are entitled to 450 minutes of prep time per two-week work period.

At all levels, time spent in Collaboration is not considered prep time. All preparation time is free from specific duty assignments—this is your time.

If you’re consistently losing prep time, document your loss of time. Use this documentation to support a conversation with your administrator. You must either be compensated for this lost time or come to an agreement with your administrator to adjust for the lost time.

Finally, minimums are not the same as maximums. If your school’s schedule allows for more than the minimum amount of prep time as defined above, that does not mean the “extra” time can be taken from you.

Click here to download the Elementary Prep Time Worksheet.


Class Size and Teaching Load

At the beginning of every school year, student enrollment numbers fluctuate before the first 20-day count. Often, the causes of this are beyond the control of anyone at your school; however, sometimes there are things you can do when you are over your maximum.

If you exceed your maximum class size or teaching load before the first 20-day count, talk with your administrators and work with them to solve the problem. Sometimes, issues with overcrowding or uneven classes can be solved early at the school level, instead of waiting for the 20-day count and disrupting teaching and learning later in the school year.

Welcome Back Checklist! Tips for Arranging Your Classroom

These tips are brought to us by Share My Lesson, a FREE AFT Resource for union members.

Effective classroom arrangement: You have control over how your classroom is arranged. Research shows that effective classroom arrangement maximizes student learning by contributing to good classroom management and supporting effective instruction. This information is based on the research of Carolyn Evertson, Edmund Emmer and Linda Anderson.

Keys to Good Classroom Arrangement:

  1. Avoid unnecessary congestion in group work areas; classroom entrance and exit; pencil sharpener and trash can; lavatory, sink and water fountain; bookshelves, storage and supply stations; special displays; teacher’s desk; and computer stations.
  2. Always have a clear view of students Verify that all students can see instructional displays.
  3. Place learning areas so students can move from one to another with little or no disruption.
  4. Place storage space and necessary materials so they are easily accessible.

Tips for Arranging Furniture:

  1. Make sure all students can see you, the chalk and/or whiteboard(s) and other instructional displays.
  2. Consider potential distractions: windows, doors, etc. Leave walking space around students’ desks.
  3. Position yourself so you can see all students at all times.
  4. Avoid placing learning centers and work areas in “blind corners”.
  5. Seat students who need extra help near you.
  6. Arrange students’ desks in rows facing instructional areas until you’ve learned their names, work habits and personal traits.

Storage Space:

  1. Place instructional materials where they are easily accessible to instructional areas.
  2. If you must use tables or desks with inadequate storage, consider storing student materials in “tote trays” where they will be easily accessible but out of the way.
  3. Provide adequate, conveniently located space for students’ belongings.
  4. Provide easily accessible bookcase shelves for everyday books and materials not kept in students’ desks.
  5. Keep long term, seldom used or special occasion items in a location outside of the classroom.

Other Things to Consider:

  1. Choose a particular spot, easily seen by all students for posting daily assignments (weekly, if possible).
  2. Use walls and bulletin boards to display rules, procedures, assigned duties, a calendar, schedule, student work and extra credit activities.
  3. Use ceiling space to hang mobiles, decorations and student work; use windows to displays or decorations.
  4. Check all electrical equipment to be sure it works, and learn how to use the equipment before using it in class.
  5. Have a sturdy extension cord available if an electrical outlet is not within easy reach.

Labor Day Lesson Plans: Teach Your Students the Value of Unions!

How do labor unions work? What impact have they had on the course of history, workers' rights and workplace safety, particularly in the United States?

As the American Federation of Teachers celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016, Share My Lesson curated a collection of lesson plans, activities and resources to help you explore the role of labor unions with your preK-12 students.

Take a closer look at how labor unions strive to address fairness and dignity in the workplace, and help your students explore some of the social justice issues unions have fought for.


Rights of Workers (MS & HS)

Human Rights: Sweatshops (HS)

The Yummy Strawberry Company (K-2)

Let Me Tell You About This Man: Cesar Chavez (3-5)

...more lesson plans for Labor Day (K-12)


These lessons brought to you by AFT's Share My Lesson, a FREE resource for teachers made by teachers.

2018-2019 Contract Ratified by ATF Members & APS BOE

The 2018-2019 Negotiated Agreement was ratified by the Board of Education during the BOE meeting on Wednesday, August 22, 2018.

Our ratification vote was:

1574 total votes
1545 (98.1%) in favor
29 (1.9%) against

Some highlights of the changes to our contract include:

  • At least a 3% salary for every employee represented by the Albuquerque Teachers Federation.
  • APS' commitment to work on employee requirements and workload issues.
  • SLP’s can now submit for bilingual and TESOL differentials.
  • Higher payments for Diagnosticians, School Psychologists and SLPs who perform evaluations outside of the school year.
  • All educators represented by ATF can now transfer between role groups without losing any pay! (This also included language that will allow educators the ability to self-report for a one time pay adjustment for those who made a role group change in previous years.)
  • Shortened the Diagnosticians, School Psychologists and Transition Specialists work year without a reduction in pay.
  • Won social workers the ability to submit for credential differentials and reimbursements, leading to more take home pay.
  • Ensured ALL middle schools receive five differentials for department heads.
  • Added MOUs establishing task forces to research and make recommendations on advisories, high school seniors taking a full class load and class sizes affected by the number of work stations available.

Click here to view a summary of changes for this contract year.

Click here to view the joint letter from Ellen and Superintendent Reedy on addressing employee requirements and workloads.


Salary Matrices:

Level 1- Teacher, Librarian, Nurses, Counselors, Social Worker, Interpreters Matrix
Level 2- Teacher, Librarians, Nurses, Counselors, Social Worker, Interpreters Matrix
Level 3- Teacher, Librarians, Nurses, Counselors, Social Worker, Interpreters Matrix
Diagnostician, Transition Specialist, Psychologist Matrix
Audiologists, Mobility, SLP, PT, OT Matrix
90% – COTAs, PTAs and Others Matrix

Union Training: Stronger Together

Organized labor fights for a better life for all people. We protect and promote public education as the foundation of our democracy; wealthy political donors and corporate interests see that as a threat. Together, we are strong. Attend this training and learn how we can become stronger. RSVP here!

ATF Members: Protest Detentions in Tornillo

Dear members,

Many of us have been watching the news in horror as we witness inhumane immigration policies and child internment camps at the border. Trump's latest executive order was merely a publicity stunt that "reunited families" while still holding them in internment camps.

Let's be clear: holding children in cages separate from their families is no different than putting families in cages together.
To make matters worse, now that the executive order is signed, these families can be held for an indefinite amount of time.

But to be outraged isn't enough. It’s time to act.

Join our union family as we travel to the Tornillo Detention Center near El Paso, Texas where we'll meet up with our AFT National President, Randi Weingarten and Dreamers from United We Dream.

Together, we will participate in two actions:

AFT Rally and Delivery of Books, Clothing
and Supplies to Children in Tent Cities
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
U.S. District Court, El Paso, TX
525 Magoffin Ave.
(Click here for a flyer)

United We Dream Action
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Tornillo Detention Center
1400 Lower Island Rd. Tornillo, TX


If you can join us, here is some important information:

  • ATF members will leave Albuquerque together at 5am on Tuesday the 26th. The caravan will leave from the ATF office (530 Jefferson NE).
  • We will arrive in El Paso at about 11am to participate in the ATF Action of delivering books, clothing and supplies to children in tent cities.
  • Then, we will join the United We Dream action on the 27th and return to Albuquerque late in the evening.
  • ATF members able to join us will be responsible for their own costs for transportation, food and lodging on the night of the 26th. Depending on how many people sign up, it is likely we will carpool, share hotel rooms and split bills.

If you are interested in traveling with ATF to participate in these actions, click here to register.

For organizational purposes, the deadline to register is Sunday, June 24 by noon.

In solidarity,

Team ATF

ATF/APS New Teacher Orientation

The APS/ATF New Teacher Orientation (NTO) is a collaborative effort between APS and our union, the Albuquerque Teachers Federation. It seeks to change the culture of loneliness and isolation for incoming educators. For ten years, NTO has provided classroom supplies, Professional Development meant to help you during your first weeks on the job, and a community of educators (your union!) to help support and foster growth as you enter the profession we all hold dear to our hearts.

The NTO has grown throughout the years, thanks to our dedicated ATF members and ATF leadership. Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of school supplies are passed along from retiring educator to new teacher, thanks to the “Educators’ Emporium”, brainchild of ATF President Ellen Bernstein. Each year, more and more ATF member-volunteers step up to welcome our newest colleagues. And, each year, ATF is able to help our educators start off on the right foot, with whole class sets of books, school and art supplies, helpful tips and tools for success in our classrooms and within our Support and Related positions, and a promise of solidarity from our ATF union member colleagues.


Sign up for the 2018-2019 New Teacher Orientation
Thurs. August 2nd, 2018
Sandia High School

New Elementary Educators, Sign up Here

New Secondary Educators, Sign up Here

(Support and related service providers are encouraged to sign up for the S&RSP class and "Know Your Rights in APS")