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  • Have You Not Yet Received Any Work Share or Unemployment?

  • Bargaining Brief: Re-Opening Schools

  • President's Message, Meet PAT President Elizabeth Thiel

  • PAT on the Murder of George Floyd

  • The Coronavirus Relief Fund for PPS Families is Live!

  • Everyone Counts in the Census

  • Your Voice, Your Vote

  • Featured post

    Bargaining Brief, August 3rd, 2020

    Dear Colleagues,

    Today, your PAT Bargaining Team met with the District in our 3rd bargaining session to negotiate an agreement on a safe and equitable return to school. Thank you to the 100+ members who tuned in live to watch. If you missed it, the full session is viewable online. 

    During today’s bargain, we presented the District with a comprehensive “Re-opening School Proposal,” which included elements of the workday for professional educators in general education, Special Education & related student services, and Dual Language Instruction. In addition, PAT specifically identified and proposed supports for PPS families, including child care needs while schools remain closed so that no student in the district is excluded from the educational experience. We also proposed that the District provide high quality training and live tech support for parents (in families’ home languages) once distance learning begins.   

    The District made a presentation that included some partially developed schedules for high school and middle school, as well as an outline of a student day for elementary school.  Unfortunately, the amount of time in the day for planning, assessment of student work, data tracking/grade entry, and family/student contact was significantly less than what PAT has proposed.  Our goal remains the creation of a meaningful educational experience for students and sustainable educator workload and workday.  

    Our next bargaining session will be Monday, August 10th from 1:00 to 5:00pm. We will live-stream the session again-- please tune in!

    In Solidarity,

    Your PAT Bargaining Team-

    Steve Lancaster, Chair

    Emy Markewitz

    Francisca Alvarez

    Charity Powell

    Andre Hawkins

    Chelyn Joseph 

    Portland Association of Teachers
    http://www.pdxteachers.org/

  • Meet Your PAT Bargaining Team!

    Steve Lancaster, Chair

    My name is Steve Lancaster. I entered the teaching profession 18 years ago as a Social Studies teacher at Marshall High School were I taught for four years.  Since then I have taught at Madison, Cleveland and Lincoln where I have been for 12 years.  I began serving on the Bargaining Team eight years ago and have held the Chair position for the last six years, making this my forth time at the bargaining table.  I passionately believe that our contract is a vehicle for protecting the teaching profession and ensures that the voice of professional educators will be honored.

    Steve Lancaster

    Emy Markewitz

    My name is Emy Markewitz. I am both a 3rd grade teacher and parent of an incoming 8th grader at Vernon School. I’ve been with the District since the 1997-1998 school year, and have served on the Bargaining Team through several rounds of negotiations before.

    Francisca Alvarez

    My name is Francisca Alvarez. I am a second grade Spanish Immersion Teacher at Scott School. I have been part of Portland Public Schools since 2007. I have experienced teaching in English only settings and DLI following the 90/10 model.

    Andre Hawkins

    My name is Andre Hawkins, “Hawk”. I am the Dean of Students, Social Studies teacher and a basketball coach at Roosevelt High School. I have been at “The Velt” for 8 years and with PPS since 2003.

    Charity Powell

    My name is Charity Powell, I am a Special Education Teacher at Laurelhurst School, and mom to an incoming kindergartener. I have worked for PPS since 2002. Over the years, I have taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade as a General Education Teacher, and Kindergarten through 8th grade as a Special Education Learning Center Teacher. 

    Chelyn Joseph

    My name is Chelyn Joseph. I am a school psychologist, and I have been with PPS since the 2002-2003 school year. I've served on the Bargaining Team through several rounds of negotiations.

     

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  • Featured post

    Have You NOT Received ANY Payments for Work Share or Unemployment Yet?

    Dear Educator,

    As of last Thursday, July 16th, the majority of members received all of their Unemployment checks and Work Share checks. However, there are still many members who have not received any Work Share or Unemployment checks due to the following reasons:

    1. They are receiving income from a second source. This includes another pension, income from a second job, income from a trust or estate, or income from a small family business.
    2. They just retired.
    3. They incorrectly filled out their two-page Work Share application. (The two page application filled out by members in May.)

    PPS is aware of these three categories of individuals who have not yet received any of their payments. PPS HR is slowly working its way through a list of employees and either emailing educators or calling educators to follow up.

    If you have emailed PAT since July 13 about having not received any payments yet (either emailed your UniServ Consultant or the PAT general email address), we have your name and are compiling a list to forward to PPS HR. 

    However, if you have not received any payments yet, have not contacted your UniServ Consultant or PAT since July 13, and you have not received a call or email from PPS HR recently, please enter your contact info on this form. We want to have a list to forward to PPS HR, and we also want to make sure that everyone receives the payments they are owed.


    In Solidarity,

    Portland Association of Teachers
    http://www.pdxteachers.org/

  • Featured post

    Meet PAT's New President Elizabeth Thiel

    Introductions

    For those of you who don't yet know me, I'm Elizabeth Thiel, your newly elected PAT President. I'm a High School English Teacher, most recently, at Madison High School. I've been working PPS for 17 years, and for the past four years I've been serving as PAT Vice President. I'm excited to be working with all our newly elected officers, board members, and committee chairs to guide our union through these unprecedented times.

    Typically July is the month that many educators take a moment to breathe and regroup, before we recommit ourselves to the work of nurturing the students who will fill our classrooms in the fall. This year, our summer is filled with uncertainty and the urgent work of re-imagining our schools and classrooms.
    Fall Re-Opening

    As educators, of course there is nothing we want more than to be face to-face with our students, where we can really connect and help them learn and grow. Distance learning has been an enormous stress on educators, students, and families, and it is certainly not the model we would choose, if being live in classrooms were not a threat to public health.
    Like every school district in Oregon and across the country, PPS is scrambling to make plans for the fall, while new information and guidance keep rolling in. In June, ODE released two iterations of its guidelines for reopening schools. Since then, infection rates in Oregon have continued to rise, including among children under 10. Even as plans are being made, the conditions in our city and state continue to change.

    There are several things we know for sure. First, There is neither a vaccine nor a treatment for COVID-19. Second, while students may be at relatively low risk, the adults they depend on are vulnerable to this debilitating and sometimes lethal disease. Whatever plan PPS makes, it must prioritize the safety of our educators, students, and families while centering equity and balancing our students social and emotional needs with their academic ones."

    If educators, students, and families cannot be reasonably assured that any plans for re-opening schools will prevent the spread of COVID-19, reopening is the wrong choice. Despite the pressure and the desire to get back to normal, we cannot sacrifice the safety of educators, students, and families by accepting re-opening plans that leave us all at risk.

    When things are moving this fast and unpredictably, teacher voices are essential for any re-opening plan to be successful.
    Our PAT Bargaining Team is working throughout the summer to reach an MOU around our working conditions in the fall. Your input on the recent bargaining survey is crucial in identifying our collective priorities, and defining for the District what educators consider safe working conditions. You will hear more from our Bargaining Team shortly about the results from our survey, and the implications in negotiating our MOU.

    At the same time, there are about 25 teachers serving as PAT representatives on the District’s 4 Re-Entry Planning committees, which began meeting last week. Along with these classroom educators, I am also attending as many of the planning meetings as I can, to make sure an on-the-ground perspective is central to every discussion and decision.
    We are working with the District to offer a townhall for PAT educators to give feedback on the District’s draft plan for re-opening, once it is ready to share. Expect to hear more about that by mid-July.

    In the meantime, I know you have so much insight to offer about how to make schools work in a distance-learning or hybrid model. You can always share your ideas with me via e-mail, but I have created this form to collect your ideas and concerns so I can more easily consolidate them and share with PPS and with our bargaining. Please take a minute to share anything you would like.
    Classroom educators know better than anyone what worked and what didn't this Spring as we experimented with distance learning in PPS.. For any plan to be successful, educator voices must be central to decision making.

    Standing up for Black LIves and Reimagining Community Safety
    Like millions of people around the country, PAT members have been outraged over the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police. We’ve also been inspired by the unprecedented movement to end the nationwide pattern of police violence against Black people.

    In Portland, people have been demonstrating for 40 days straight to demand police reform and a broader reevaluation of public safety. This movement has had real results. In June the Portland City Council voted to end the School Resource Officer program and other special forces, and to reallocate $15 million toward support services. At the state level, the Oregon Legislature passed six criminal justice reform bills championed by the People of Color Caucus.

    In both the city and the state, leaders acknowledge that these changes are just a start in addressing the pattern of anti-Black police violence, and the disproportionate use of public funds for police and prisons, rather than social services and economic justice.
    This week past, despite a temporary ban from the Federal courts, the police continue to use tear gas to break up peaceful demonstrations, causing harm to demonstrators, on-lookers, and even unsuspecting community members in their homes and cars.
    Across the country, there is unprecedented support for reimagining what makes our communities safe and what is the proper role for police. I urge everyone to educate themselves on the many proposals for reform, restructuring, and re-allocation of funds, especially if you are newer to the conversation. Here are a few upcoming opportunities:

    Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing Townhall, Thursday, July 9, 2020, 5:00 – 7:00pm. Jobs with Justice forum: "Should Police Be Abolished - Labor Weighs In" Tuesday July 14, 2020, 6:30 – 8:00pm.

    Other Things to Know:
    The Executive Board will be working this summer to create SocialDistancing Standing Rules for the RA, so there is a democratic process for elected reps to conduct PAT business via virtual meetings. It looks like it will be some time before we are able to meet live as a group of 100 + in the PAT basement. Our Bargaining Team will be communicating with you soon about the bargaining survey results and our priorities in negotiating our working conditions in the fall. Our staff are working throughout the summer, save for staggered breaks. If you don’t know which consultant to contact, you can email portlandteachers@gmail.com, include what school you work at, and our Associate Staff will put you in touch with the right UniServ Consultant.

    Our Fall Membership Meeting will be held the last Monday before you report to school, Monday, August 24th. More information will be sent to Reps later this summer

  • Featured post

    PAT Statement Concerning the Murder of George Floyd

    June 1, 2020

    As the Portland Association of Teachers, we believe Black Lives Matter. We stand with all Black educators, all Black families, all Black students, and all Black communities against injustice.

    Our hearts are broken. George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was murdered by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, 2020. The needless and brutal killing of Black people in this country is a crime against humanity. This type of brutality has existed since the founding of this country, and it is abhorrent and unacceptable. 

    We must do everything in our power as educators to address the insidiousness of racism and white supremacy. As the President of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen García said in a statement released on May 27th, 2020, “This is no time for us to look away. Police violence against Black people happens too often. The threat and real violence toward Black people daring to exist in public spaces and even in their own homes is the direct result of how white supremacy culture is the air we breathe in America.”

    It is our duty, our responsibility, to honor and uplift the lives of Black people, to nurture the young people we are entrusted with educating, to teach the truth about the injustices that run like a river through our country's history. As a predominantly white group of educators, we must do better. We must be braver. We must be committed to being actively anti-racist and we must hold each other accountable to that never-ending, ongoing work.

    PAT stands in solidarity with all those in Minneapolis and across America’s cities who demand justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and all of the other Black lives that have been taken due to racist violence. 

    As educators, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to take action with our own practice. Here are recommendations from NEA: 5 ways to address bias in your school.

    With our students, we must teach the truth about the injustices in our society. Here are some anti-racism resources for teachers:

    Teaching for Black Lives

    NEA: Black Live Matter at School Resources 

    AFT: Teaching about Race and Racism

    If you are able to give financially, here are some opportunities to lend support:

    George Floyd Family's GoFundMe 

    PDX Bail Fund

    NAACP PDX 

    ACLU Oregon 

     

  • Featured post

    Contract Exceptions

    Every year, the PAT Advocacy Committee receives requests from building reps about how to seek an exception to a contractual provision.  This type of exception is usually an exception that is limited to that building and limited to those teachers in the building – it is not an exception that is applied PPS-wide. We call this limited modification to a provision of the contract, a Contract Exception.

    Most contract exceptions involve requests to make changes in the teacher work year (article 6), in the workday (article 7), or in workload (article 8).  Simply, a contract exception must be initiated by an educator at a building, and not by a building administrator. The PAT Advocacy Committee creates the exceptions application process – not PPS. 

    All exceptions expire at the end of the school year in which they were granted. Meaning, if your building was granted a contract exception in this academic year, it will terminate at the end of this school year in June.   

    If a building wants to initiate a building exception, we have the exception application on the PAT website, along with a checklist to help you gather all the documents you’ll need in addition to submitting a completed form to the PAT Advocacy Committee. 

    What is a contract exception? 

    It’s a limited modification of a provision in your union contract.  

    Who can initiate a contract exception? 

    Only members of the union at your building. A building administrator cannot initiate this process. 

    What is the procedure? 

    The PAT Building Head Rep (1) educates their colleagues on the potential impact of this exception; (2) prepares a secret ballot and (3) conducts the election. Finally, the Head Rep will complete the PAT contract exception form found on the PAT website and submit to the PAT Advocacy Committee and await approval/denial. 

    What are the deadlines? 

    While the original deadline for 2020-21 contract exceptions was May 1, 2020, given our changed context we will be accepting contract exceptions on a rolling basis prior to the start of school next year. Exceptions are only valid for the school year for which it was approved. Click here for the Contract Exception application.

  • Featured post

    Q&A for Substitutes During COVID-19 & OEA Relief Fund for Subs

    Latest Update, July 9, 2020

    FAQ's for Substitutes (as of 4-7-20)

    While the coronavirus pandemic has us asking more questions than there are answers, please CLICK HERE to get clarity on some of the most pressing questions we've received from our substitute members.

    OEA Relief Fund for Subs

    In recognition that substitute educators have been disproportionately affected by a loss of income due to the COVID-19 school closure, OEA has opened up its Relief Fund to all OEA Union members employed as substitutes who have experienced a loss in salary during this time.

    You can find more information about the OEA Relief Fund and complete an application by clicking here.

    Each individual applicant will be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 after the application is processed. To be eligible to receive funds, you must have become an OEA member by March 2nd, 2020.

    We appreciate all your work and hope you continue to be well.

  • Latest from the blog

    Have You NOT Received ANY Payments for Work Share or Unemployment Yet?

    Dear Educator,

    As of last Thursday, July 16th, the majority of members received all of their Unemployment checks and Work Share checks. However, there are still many members who have not received any Work Share or Unemployment checks due to the following reasons:

    1. They are receiving income from a second source. This includes another pension, income from a second job, income from a trust or estate, or income from a small family business.
    2. They just retired.
    3. They incorrectly filled out their two-page Work Share application. (The two page application filled out by members in May.)

    PPS is aware of these three categories of individuals who have not yet received any of their payments. PPS HR is slowly working its way through a list of employees and either emailing educators or calling educators to follow up.

    If you have emailed PAT since July 13 about having not received any payments yet (either emailed your UniServ Consultant or the PAT general email address), we have your name and are compiling a list to forward to PPS HR. 

    However, if you have not received any payments yet, have not contacted your UniServ Consultant or PAT since July 13, and you have not received a call or email from PPS HR recently, please enter your contact info on this form. We want to have a list to forward to PPS HR, and we also want to make sure that everyone receives the payments they are owed.


    In Solidarity,

    Portland Association of Teachers
    http://www.pdxteachers.org/

    Continue reading

    Special Education in the Time of COVID— Discussion with ODE

    Dear Colleagues,

    OEA is hosting a virtual meeting to discuss COVID-19 issues specifically concerning Special Ed Educators. Below is the invitation from OEA President John Larson, with links on how to register to participate. We hope to see you there.

    PLEASE NOTE:
    Registration is REQUIRED to participate in this meeting.

    Good morning,

    There will be a Zoom meeting on Wednesday, July 15, from 3:30-5pm to discuss Special Education issues during a time of COVID with Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Colt Gill and Oregon Department of Education Staff.  The emphasis will be on IEP development/modifications, but all special education issues can be a part of the conversation.  
     
    Please take a moment to register to participate in the meeting here; please be sure to enter the email address where you wish to receive the link/password to join the meeting.
     
    You will receive the link and password to join the meeting twice (once in the morning, once in the afternoon at approximately 3pm) on July 15 at the email address you entered when registering. Note: If you do not intend to participate in this meeting but still wish to be notified for future meetings, please register and indicate “No” in the drop-down asking whether or not you will participate.
     
    Registration for this meeting will close Monday, July 13, at 4:00 p.m.
     
    PLEASE NOTE: Registration is REQUIRED to participate in this meeting.
     
    The email address you enter during registration is where you will receive the link/password to join the meeting.
     
    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at john.larson@oregoned.org.
     
    Thank you for participating in this very important work.  I appreciate all you do.
     
     John
     
    C. John Larson
    OEA President
    Phone (503) 495-2124
    Fax (503) 624-5814 

    www.oregoned.org 
    "Improving the future of all Oregonians through quality public education"

     
    www.oregoned.org/oeafoundation 
    "We help students succeed!"

    Portland Association of Teachers
    http://www.pdxteachers.org/

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  • Everyone Counts in the 2020 Census

    The Census affects $800 billion in public education funding, and we're asking PAT members to help make sure everyone is counted! 

    One place to start is by reassuring students and families that participation in the census is safe, important, and necessary. If we are successful, our community will receives its fair share of federal and state funding for schools and other critical services.

    We're also asking PAT members to join educators across the country who will be teaching students about the importance of the census during in Statistics in Schools Week, March 2-6, 2020.

    Even if can't participate in Statistics in Schools Week you should check out the extensive collection of lesson plans, maps, coloring pages, word finds, and more on the Census Bureau website. Resources are tailored to different grade levels including:

    Our national union, the National Education Association also has a Census toolkit with similar resources.

    You should also consider sending home a reminder about the census with your students. Flyers are available on the NEA website in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

    Continue reading