Bargaining Brief- January 12, 2021

PAT Colleagues:

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team was able to reach final agreement on language regarding work under Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) conditions.  As we will mention in the Advocate later today, we did all we could to find a way to protect the safety of PAT members who volunteer to serve students in a LIPI setting, and to enable PAT members to serve distinct groups of students who have specific needs.

 

(Links to view the bargaining sessions from January 6- Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5- and January 12- Part 1Part 2Part 3.)

 

The ten-point Agreement for LIPI Safety Conditions (view here) contains significant guarantees for PAT members.  The agreement requires the District to provide professional development on safety protocols prior to the start of LIPI, and that “only professional educators who volunteer will provide LIPI.”  Those two elements mean that no PAT member can be forced to provide LIPI or be punished/discriminated against for not being willing to provide LIPI.  In addition, the agreement holds that an educator must be able to review the workspace that will be used for LIPI, and that once LIPI begins, an educator can essentially ‘un-volunteer’ if they do not feel safe or if safety conditions change.   

 

The agreement also specifically states that even if a room can accommodate twenty students, an educator, in consultation with their building administrator, may divide the group into “sub cohorts.” This means that an educator can evaluate and determine the best way to serve the students, and the building administrator and educator can collaborate on how to make the educator’s ideas work. 

 

Finally, if an educator who volunteers to provide LIPI is working with a student(s) who cannot wear a mask, the educator can request and receive KN95 (or equivalent) masks, face shields, protective garments, and gloves. 

 

This agreement empowers educators to be in charge of their working conditions and provides some much needed support for students. 

 

In Solidarity,

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team-

Steve Lancaster, Chair

Emy Markewitz

Francisca Alvarez

Charity Powell

Andre Hawkins

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

Bargaining Brief- December 11, 2020

PAT Colleagues:

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team is happy to announce that on Friday, December 11, 2020 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), we made significant progress with PPS towards finalizing an agreement regarding Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI). The Agreement guarantees that educators have autonomy in determining how to carry out Limited In-Person Instruction. 

 

Though NOT in signed form, the discussion led to verbal agreements as follows:

1) Guaranteeing that LIPI instruction will be provided by educators on a voluntary basis.  If the district cannot find a volunteer from the regularly employed PAT membership, PPS will open the positions to PAT substitute educators. 

2) Recognizing the added workload on educators who do both LIPI and regular on-line instruction. Volunteers who agree to provide LIPI during teacher-directed time in their regular schedule will be paid at their individual per-diem hourly rate for all lost teacher-directed time plus for an additional hour per week for time spent planning LIPI sections.

3) Guaranteeing that educators who volunteer can rescind their volunteer offer if they do not feel safe once they inspect the space provided for LIPI, or if they feel that the time required or safety issues are too great to continue. 

 

What helped the two teams make such quick progress was the presentation of the PAT’s COVID-19 LIPI Interests survey results.  It was clear to both teams that most PAT members believe that the workload and safety concerns related to in-person instruction prohibit large-scale LIPI activities. 

 

Your team and the PPS team agreed that the state’s cap of twenty students in a LIPI cohort could be divided up however the volunteer educator feels provides for safety, student needs, and pedagogical efficacy.  For example, if a classroom has an in-person capacity of 14 students (35 square-feet per student), the professional educator could divide the two-hour time period of LIPI into two groups of 7 students, with one hour for each group.

 

The two bargaining teams are so close to agreement on language that they will exchange proposals via email in order to speed up the process. 

 

Unfortunately, we did not have time to address the PAT proposals that would guarantee adequate support for families and communities. (View PAT’s Permissive Community Interest Proposal here.) While the PAT team originally put forward a version of these proposals back in August, we provided the District with a newer version of them the day before bargaining on December 11.  Our proposals include adding dedicated staff teams to consistently support students whose needs are not being met by CDL, providing physical materials to students who need them, and providing communications and supports to families in their preferred language.  PAT continues to believe that supporting our students and families is vital to making distance learning more successful. We will address those proposals when we return from winter break.

 

 

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Bargaining Re-Opening/LIPI Survey Results

Brief sent to PAT membership, December 13, 2020

Good Morning,

The PAT Bargaining Team will be meeting with the District again today to continue discussions from 12:15 to 4:15PM. Please tune in on the PAT YouTube channel to watch the live stream of this meeting. 

In addition to today's bargaining, we have the results and demographics of the COVID/LIPI survey for you to review. We will be sharing this data with the District today in bargaining, but we wanted you to see your colleagues' responses, if you wish. 
The live stream will be available to view on our YouTube channel later as part of the “PAT-PPS Negotiations 2020” playlist.

In Solidarity,

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

Bargaining Brief, November 24, 2020

Fellow PAT Educators:

Your bargaining team met with PPS on November 13th and November 19th [Part 1,  Part 2, Part 3].  Although there have not been any new tentative agreements to come out of those sessions, both teams did make some significant headway on issues.

On November 13th, the PAT presented a proposal regarding working conditions for Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI), and then went on a “tour” of Woodmere Elementary School.  PPS wanted to demonstrate the efforts that have been taken to make Woodmere ready for Hybrid instruction.  The result of the tour was interesting to both teams.

To begin with, your PAT team was impressed with the efforts of building administration and PPS Facilities workers to get Woodmere as ready as it could be.  The building was sufficiently clean, marked for proper distance, and administrators were working on protocols so that students might safely function in a building setting.

At the same time, it was apparent that even with those efforts, the building was far, far from ready to have students enter the building safely and engage in meaningful learning.  Issues about the entry of students, access to restrooms, hallway behavior, lunch room capability, etc., clearly demonstrated that students would be forced to function like little machines to be able to keep proper distancing as well as continually wear masks and follow hand-washing protocols.  Even with the efforts of the building staff, the reality of COVID-19 makes it clear that a safe in-person environment does not yet exist.

Most surprising of all was the District’s understandable, but inadequate, response to building air-exchange systems.  When your bargaining team asked representatives from Facilities what the air filtration standards were, we were told that “the standards are what the building heating and cooling system will allow.”  In other words, there are no district-wide standards.  Instead, the standard for each building is to “do the best it can” to provide clean air to a room in a building.  Needless to say, that is not an acceptable or scientific standard for air quality, and your PAT team has made that clear to PPS. 

On November 19th the two teams met again and discussed the District’s counter-proposal to PAT LIPI safety demands.  A clear difference between the two groups is that PPS wants to be able to require a professional educator to work in-person with students (if they can’t find a volunteer), and PAT’s position requires that members work in-person with students on a voluntary-only basis.

Your PAT team has made a few issues clear.  One is that we want educators to be able to choose to work in-person or to remain working in a CDL setting. Secondly, your PAT team has been firm that the environment for voluntary in-person education must be as safe as possible in the face of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic.  Finally, we have been clear that it is not yet appropriate to discuss Hybrid models of instruction, let alone full in-person education.  Current health conditions simply make those goals unreasonable. 

We meet again on December 4th to discuss LIPI conditions, safety, and Community-Support language. 

Your team wants to wish all of you a happy, healthy, and safe break from work.  We will continue to do all we can to fight for all of you, and for the good of our students and their families.

 

 

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Bargaining Brief, October 16, 2020

PAT Colleagues:

The bargaining session on Friday, October 16 (view here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) resulted in some major gains for all PAT members.  The PAT and PPS bargaining teams reached tentative agreements on one complete section of the 2020 – 2021 Distance and Hybrid Work Agreement (view signed TA document here).

One of the most important issues settled Friday is working conditions for educators who have a total assignment of less than .66 FTE.  We were able to get an agreement that guarantees no less than the prorated amount of the 950 minutes per week of educator-directed time.  That means that .5 FTE teachers get at least 475 minutes of educator-directed time.  In addition, those educators are not required to attend PLC meetings, which means that some individuals may receive more than the prorated educator-directed time. 

Both teams agreed to terms for PLC meetings.  We were able to get the district to agree that the extraordinary number of PLC meetings is not an expectation for schedules once we return to a “normal” school year.  PLC meeting time must now be divided into two parts.  The first half of the time must follow a schedule agreed to by the building instructional team and the building administrator, and the second half must be mutually agreed to by the administrator and the professional educators in the meeting.  Starting this week, professional educators have a real say in how the PLC meetings are conducted. 

We reached agreement on access to technology.  Although we could not move the district to accepting a tech stipend for educators, we were able to get the district to accept that educators can not only have access to their classrooms if they want to conduct CDL lessons from their school building, but educators are also able to bring home any technology that would normally be part of their classroom tech setup.  That means that technology normally locked to carts in classrooms may now be taken home by professional educators who need to work away from the school buildings.  Additionally, professional educators are to have access to copy machines and any other shared resources or equipment at their worksite. Finally, educators are to have access to supplies / consumables that would normally be available during in person instruction for use at home.

We finalized the evaluation agreement by including language on Student Learning Goals (SLGs).  Now, educators must submit two SLGs and one professional growth goal.  The goals can be focused on SEL, family or student engagement, and they are not due until November 1st

Finally, we agreed to language regarding the PAT Extended Responsibility positions.  The agreement is complicated, but in general:

  • If the ER is not being conducted (e.g. Safety Patrol) then ER will be canceled until in-person education resumes.
  • If the ER position is still going on, even with reduced elements (e.g. testing coordinator) the ER will be paid in full.
  • If the ER position is directly connected to an educator’s class and marked with an asterisk on the ER schedule, the ER will be paid in full, although if the number of performances expected is reduced the rate of pay may be changed.
  • Athletic ER has its own section which grants pay for proportions of seasons worked, rather than no pay at all. 

Negotiations regarding the COVID work environment is not concluded.  We still need to bargain “safe return to in-person instruction” language, and community/family support language.  Once those are completed, we will bring the full MOA to members for ratification. 

Once ratified, PAT and PPS will begin to bargain for the successor agreement to the current CBA.  We have a great deal of work ahead, but thanks to your support and engagement we have been able to move the district to agreements that protect everyone.

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Bargaining Brief- October 2 & 9, 2020

PAT Colleagues:

 

We have some progress in bargaining to report.  PAT and PPS bargaining teams met on October 2nd and again on October 9th.  (The October 2nd meeting can be viewed here: Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4. The October 9th meeting can be viewed here: Part 1Part 2Part 3.)  The result of those sessions are a number of agreements on working conditions.

 

The first set of agreements cover evaluations.  Starting now:

  • All goal setting is pushed back to November 1st, and the goals are to be SEL goals rather than academic goals.
  • No educator is to be negatively rated or impacted if they are not able to achieve the SEL goal.  No observation is to take place prior to November 1st
  • All probationary educators, regardless of their year in the probationary process, will follow the timelines for probationary 3 educators. 

 

We finally agreed to form a committee to modify the existing educator rubric so that the rubric identifies and encourages proficient and distinguished practice, and which recognizes that educators need support rather than unsatisfactory ratings on an evaluation. 

 

Last but not least, any educator on a Plan of Assistance (POA) that began prior to the COVID shutdown, or who was to be put on a POA, will have the plan restarted only after the PAT and PPS meet to agree which ones are appropriate to continue prior to full in-person education resuming. 

 

In a major workload improvement for some PAT members, the two sides agreed to 1.0 FTE Technical Assistant professional educators for both School Psychologists and SLPs. 

 

Although we did not reach agreement, your PAT team was able to make progress on fair working conditions for .5 FTE educators, and for terms related to providing services to students by Social Workers, Counselors, School Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, and QMHPs.  

 

We meet again on October 16th to discuss part-time work conditions in addition to other PAT proposals.

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Bargaining Brief- September 28, 2020

PAT Colleagues:

On Monday, September 28, your bargaining team met with PPS to try again to reach agreement on topics that directly impact PAT members’ work lives.  The meeting can be viewed here (Part 1Part 2Part 3).  

We spent the entire session exchanging proposals dealing with the evaluation procedure during this CDL year. 

On a positive note, we reached an agreement on language that directs evaluators to recognize that educators need support and assistance during CDL rather than evaluations designed to identify unsatisfactory performance. 

In addition, PPS agreed that professional educators must receive notice that an administrator will conduct a drop-in observation either by receiving a communication prior to the class starting, or by having the administrator announce their presence when they enter the CDL class. 

Finally, the two sides agreed that for any Plan of Assistance (POA) either planned or started prior to March 2020, the PAT and PPS HR would meet to determine whether or not the plan should remain on hold until we return to in-person instruction, or whether the plan can move forward.

The two sides could not reach agreement on the timeline for adjusting the current evaluation for CDL conditions, or on what could happen if the timeline isn’t met.  If a committee of PAT members and PPS administrators cannot complete modifying the current evaluation tool by the end of October, PPS proposed that it could evaluate educators using the existing, unmodified tool. 

As all of you know, the existing tool is designed for a traditional in-person educational model.  Even the quickest review of that rubric makes clear that the descriptors for distinguished, proficient, developing, and unsatisfactory performance generally don’t apply to distance learning.  Determining an employee’s career status using an evaluation tool that is specifically not suited to current conditions is simply wrong.  PAT will not agree to any settlement that gives PPS that ability. 

The agreements we reached were accomplished after almost eight hours of bargaining the same topic.  Your team simply will not allow PPS to apply a “trust us” approach to any topic as significant as your evaluations. 

The two sides meet again on Friday, October 2nd.  We hope to make additional progress then.

 

In Solidarity,

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Bargaining Brief, September 23rd

PAT and PPS bargained Wednesday, September 23rd from about 12:15 until 3:15; you may view the sessions here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.  Our discussion focused almost entirely on evaluations of professional educators during CDL.  

Although there were some areas of agreement, the two sides were unable to reach agreement.  PPS agreed with PAT that educators primarily need support during CDL, but they asserted that the District must retain the right to non-extend or non-renew an educator based on distance learning evaluations.  Astoundingly, they recognize that no one in the district, including administrators, is fully experienced in distance online learning, and yet the PPS bargaining team insisted on having the ability to remove a teacher from teaching because of unsatisfactory performance teaching students during CDL.  

The right and requirement to evaluate educators is part of Oregon state law, but the moments of a tone deaf approach by the PPS district-administrators was surprising.  

The two teams agreed in concept to form a committee whose responsibility is to modify the existing evaluation rubric so that it is applicable to distance learning.  The committee will have equal numbers of PAT-appointed members and District management, and the District wants the committee to complete its task by October 26th.  According to the District, if the committee can’t complete the job by the 26th, PPS administrators will be able to evaluate educators using the existing rubric.  The District is adamant about this even though they have admitted that the rubric is unsuited to current teaching and learning conditions.  Your PAT team totally rejects that position and will continue to fight to achieve humane and sensible evaluation language.  

Until we have a complete agreement on the topic, PAT professional educators may have administrators do drop-in observations, but no educator should have a formal observation conducted.  

Your PAT team meets with the District again on September 28th from noon until 4 to continue negotiations.

In Solidarity,

 

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Bargaining Brief September 17, 2020

PAT Colleagues,

Once again, your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS to continue negotiations on the MOA for working conditions and common understandings under CDL.  You may view the session from yesterday (September 17) here to get the full discussion that took place: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

Today’s negotiations lead to two major agreements. PAT and PPS agreed to language for DLI educators regarding compensation for translating student materials for instruction, as well as language for additional compensation for PAT members who have to process the backlog of IEPs and evaluations resulting from the COVID-19 shutdown between March and August. 

Based on our agreement, all DLI teachers will receive compensation of up to five hours per week for time spent translating student core content materials when the district fails to provide those materials one week prior to the date they will be presented to students.  PAT and PPS hope and believe that there will be a limited number of times that DLI teachers will have to utilize the new language because PPS has expanded the number of outside translation services producing the materials.  Still, the District finally has recognized that DLI educators have workload issues unlike the rest of their PAT colleagues. 

For Special Education and related service educators, PAT was successful in getting an agreement that grants educators 2 hours of compensation for paperwork related to each IEP or evaluation postponed due to the COVID-19 shutdown.  The two hours per IEP/evaluation is in addition to language in the current CBA for time to write IEPs.  Like the DLI agreement, the District made significant movement when it recognized the enormous workload that the backlog of IEPs and evaluations presented. 

Finally, there were positive discussions regarding securing educator-directed time for all part-time PAT members, as well as a common understanding of what are appropriate activities for educators in PLCs. 

 We will meet with PPS again on September 23rd.   

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Bargaining Brief, September 9, 2020

PAT Colleagues:

 

The PAT Bargaining Team met with the PPS team yesterday (Wednesday, September 9).  We know many of you were unable to watch the session because you were engaged in teaching, but you may view it here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

There is good news from today’s bargaining.  We have finally agreed to terms regarding the workday, particularly what has to be part of the educator’s flexible time.  PAT and PPS agreed that:

  • The stipulations are for all professional educators; there are no separate terms for “specials” or particular job descriptions.
  • The schedule must meet statutory requirements for instruction time, and for educator-facilitated instructional time in compliance with the ODE’s guidance set forth in Ready Schools, Safe Learners of August, 2020. 
  • All professional educators will receive an average of no less than three hours and ten minutes per day, or at least 950 minutes per week, of educator-directed time over the course of a full school week of time that shall include the following:
    • Educator-directed planning time;
    • Educator-directed time to communicate with students and families; 
    • Educator-directed time to provide actionable feedback to students;
    • Educator-directed time to assess student performance, and gather, track, and enter data.

Key to all educators is that both teams agreed that “educator-directed time” is flexible time - - educators are required to do the activities, but educators may conduct them when they are able.  This means that if an individual educator needs to take time to care for their child/children or to provide elder care, they may flex the time.  

We also agreed that times in the day where the District has indicated options such as student “support/ office hours,” or “small group instruction/ asynchronous learning/ office hours,” etc. are times where the educator (not the administrator) decides what happens when, and that office hours don’t count as part of the educator-directed time or educator planning time.  

Both sides continue to work to find a solution to addressing DLI and Special Education workload, part-time educator workload, and what may be required of educators in PLC meetings this year.  

We will meet with PPS in a small-group discussion (4 on 4) on Friday the 11th and again in full-team sessions on Thursday the 17th.  

 

In Solidarity,

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team-

Steve Lancaster, Chair

Emy Markewitz

Francisca Alvarez

Charity Powell

Andre Hawkins

Chelyn Joseph