President's Message: A Slow Boil

You are probably familiar with the parable about the boiling frog. According to the story, if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will immediately hop out. However, if you put a frog in cool water and very gradually heat it up, the frog will “be stuck in the comfort of its surroundings,” and stay put until it is too hot, and too late. Although modern science has proven that this is not how frogs behave, this story serves as a brilliant metaphor for what is happening to PAT members and other Oregon educators.

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Please Donate to the PAT Sick Leave Bank

Last school year, PAT members helped dozens of colleagues in need thanks to contributions to the PAT Sick Leave Bank.  These colleagues had exhausted their accumulated leave balances, but were unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they avoided the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage.

Thanks to your generosity, last year we met our goal of collecting the maximum number of voluntarily donated hours allowed under our contract. Recent improvements in our contract mean that we can now fulfill almost all applications for assistance prior to running out of Sick Leave Bank hours.  This shows the District that PAT members act on their belief that an injury to one is an injury to all.

It’s a new school year, with new needs, and a new Bank to fill. We can accept up to 4000 hours and have a long way to go to reach that goal. Read more about the Sick Leave Bank guidelines here.

Please donate here - and thank you!

Power Through Collective Action: Members Organize Around Construction Delays

PAT successfully bargained new contract language requiring that members "have access to their worksites to unpack and organize their rooms as soon as possible but, at a minimum, one week prior to their first work day". When Chapman reps discovered their school would not be ready in time, they contacted PAT before the start of the school year. This added attention helped speed up the construction timelines. In response to their safety concerns, Lewis Elementary School members pressured PPS to release lead and asbestos test results to the staff and school community prior to their scheduled report date.

At Beverly Cleary, construction problems were more extreme, and unhealthy. Many members had no access to their rooms, and the staff contended with construction noise, fumes, and dust as they tried to prepare for the first day with students.  Many members contacted PAT. Members gathered stories of construction problems, and decided on a joint strategy: to present a letter to administration and to contact parents and the media through their union. The Superintendent and two School Board members visited the building and delayed the start of school. PAT will follow up with a grievance regarding these three buildings to establish protocols when the District schedules construction in other buildings in the future.

Concerns with the Guaranteed Viable Curriculum

We have heard many concerns from members about the GVC (Guaranteed Viable Curriculum) that the District is rolling out this year. The GVC includes scope and sequence, priority standards, curriculum maps, and assessments, for Math, Science, Language Arts, and Health, K-12. We have a lot of questions about the GVC, including workload, lack of PD, the timing of this and other new initiatives, and concerns about instructional practice.

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Help PAT Engage on Fridays!

The goal of the Engage! project is to have a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with every one of our members to learn what‘s working in our schools, and what’s getting in the way of teaching and learning.

This fall, we need enough volunteers to get to every school site we didn't visit last year. We need your help to make this possible! 

Please volunteer on an upcoming Friday to take a day away from your classroom to talk to teachers in another school. OEA will pay for your sub, and volunteers have described their experience as being “invigorating and enlightening.”

You can see where we plan to be each week when you click on the link: Sign up here!

From the PAT PAC: Labor Canvass for Jo Ann Hardesty, Sunday September 16th

The Portland Association of Teachers PAC is proud to be part of a growing coalition of unions supporting Jo Ann Hardesty for Portland City Council. Join supporters from Oregon AFSCME Local 189, SEIU Local 49, SEIU Local 503, Amalgamated Transit Union 757, Portland Community College Federation of Classified Employees Local 3922, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, to talk to voters about why Jo Ann is the new leader we need on the City Council. No experience necessary.  Please RSVP here for the Labor Canvass, and share the event on Facebook. 

The PAT PAC is funded by voluntary contributions by members, and does not use dues dollars to support political candidates. Your voluntary contribution gives power to the voice of teachers in local politics. If you are not already a PAT PAC contributor, please fill out this form and return it the PAT office.

New Educator Social - Thursday September 20th

Join PAT members on Thursday September 20th for a chance to meet other colleagues new to PPS and get practical tips about teaching in our District. We’ll share some snacks and beverages, and talk informally about best practices for:

  • Arranging for a substitute
  • Writing good sub plans
  • Requesting a sick or personal day
  • Reading that check stub

Bring your questions!

Date:             Thursday, September 20th
Time:             4:30 – 6:30 PM
Location:       PAT Office – 345 NE 8th Avenue
RSVP:            Fill out this form

Come to the Northwest Teachers for Social Justice Conference!

The Northwest Teachers for Social Justice conference is returning to Portland this year for the 11th Annual Conference. It will be Saturday October 20th, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, at Madison High School.  The Portland Association of Teachers is excited to be a sponsor of this amazing event once again!

This year, the Keynote Speaker will be environmental activist Winona LaDuke. The conference also includes over 60 workshops, many of which are led by teachers. Learn more and register at info@nwtsj.org.

PAT Member Aaron Green-Mitchell Wins National Education Grant

Aaron Green-Mitchell, site support instructor at George Middle School, was recently awarded a “Learning and Leading” grant by the National Education Association.  Aaron will share his research on the role of language acquisition as a causal factor in the growth of students’ pro-social cognition and behavior at an upcoming national conference. He will also work with Grace Rodgers, George’s instructional specialist, to provide staff professional development that will help teachers increase the linguistic and social proficiency of George students.

Congratulations Aaron!