President's Message: Vote Now

This may be the most important election of our lives. In the last six months we have seen an unprecedented uprising demanding racial justice, and the unprecedented participation of YOUTH this election season. Both of these give me great hope. 

As we approach November 3rd, we can envision our country making a decisive shift toward racial justice, climate justice, and a sustainable and humane economy.

At the same time, this pandemic reminds us how quickly we can lose the things we take for granted. Anxiety is high as we near election day, and there is a strong possibility we may have to wait for days or even weeks for ballots to be counted and for the election results to be confirmed. 

As educators, we have a crucial role to play in helping our students make sense of current events, and to understand their role-- now and in the future-- in shaping our society. We don’t know what the morning of November 4th will look like, but we know our classrooms need to be a place for students to process their emotions, ask questions, and feel the support of their community. 

Thank you for being a trusted adult for your students in this uncertain time.

I also urge you to take care of yourself, and to support your colleagues who are especially impacted during this time of compounding stress. As a union we have fought to have leave time available when we are unwell— it remains available to you during distance learning. Remember that your mental health is as important as your physical health.

As we approach election day, there are a few other things you can do towards ensuring a positive outcome. First and foremost, VOTE. Make sure your ballot is in the mail no later than October 27th; otherwise, drop it in an Official Ballot Drop site before 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd

Next, join one of NEA’s National Get Out the Vote Friendbanks happening every evening between now and election day. Come to a Friendbank to multiply our power by encouraging your friends across the country to make a vote plan, VOTE, and talk with their people about the importance of voting this election. 

No matter what happens on November 3rd, I know you will continue to show up and stand up for your students. And our union will continue to fight for you, and to make sure all our students have the schools they deserve.

In Solidarity,

 

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

Use Substitutes: You Have the Right to Take Care of Yourself!

Working from home doesn’t mean you should have to work while you are sick.

Educators need to take care of themselves, and nothing has changed about your access to contractual leave in Comprehensive Distance Learning. You still have access to sick leave, personal leave, and family leave. Remember that you cannot offer the best of yourself to students if you are not able to “be your best” due to illness or other pressing needs. 

Whether or not your position allows you to get a substitute, you have the right to contractual leaves. 

If you are a classroom educator, please utilize substitute educators when you need to take a leave. While you are taking care of your personal needs, utilizing substitute educators provides much needed work for our PAT substitute colleagues. 

Substitute educators are trained to use Google, Canvas, Seesaw, and other platforms and are ready to work with your students. They can provide full-class instruction, small group instruction, attend your office hours, and provide support to students for asynchronous learning activities.

While we know it is not a perfect process (and PAT is working to have the District improve it), a classroom educator needs to follow these three steps to obtain a substitute educator:

  1. Put the absence into Absence Management and notify their school.
  2. Connect directly with the substitute educator so that the job can be assigned to them and so you can provide access to the Google classroom.
  3. If possible, put substitute lesson plans into Absence Management. (It is recommended that the educator also share these plans with the Principal’s Secretary or Building Administrator.) 

Please take care of yourself, and utilize your colleagues who are substitute educators!

Understanding the PLC Agreement

Professional educators in each building now have a voice in what happens in the many PLC meetings that PPS is requiring this year.  

In bargaining working conditions under CDL, your bargaining team was able to get PPS to agree that all PLCs will have half of the agenda for PLCs developed with input from the building administrators and the building’s instructional leadership team (ILT).  The other half of the agendas will be determined through mutual agreement with the administration and the professional educators in each PLC meeting.  

Although we didn’t agree how half would be determined, it was expressed by both the District and your bargaining team that common sense will be the test of “half.”  PLC meetings can be split evenly between admin/ILT developed tasks, and admin/educator developed tasks.  Or, one meeting can be all admin/ILT developed, and the next PLC be developed by the educators attending the meeting and admin.

If your PLC agendas are still being dictated by your building administrator, refer to the signed agreement and ensure that there is professional-educator voice shaping the work in the meetings.  

Understanding Evaluation in a Pandemic

PAT and PPS have been working to modify the PAT educator evaluation tool. This tool needs to meet ODE requirements and have reasonable expectations for educators considering this extremely difficult time we are working in. Since we are all in the learning phase of teaching in this environment, PAT and PPS share common beliefs and expectations regarding our mutually agreed upon evaluation tool.

  • Our common expectation is that this evaluation is a tool to support teaching and learning. 
  • It’s an opportunity to have conversations with your administrator about strengthening your practice, given these challenging times. 
  • All ratings from your administrator must be based on evidence. If your administrator does not have evidence for a particular element, there will be no rating. 
  • Every rating you receive should be understandable, with no surprises
  • Again, this evaluation tool is designed to support you, there is no “gotcha."

The majority of educators can expect an “in process” for many of the evaluation elements, due to the specific challenges we’re facing this year. However, this tool also includes greater specificity than in previous years, so educators can more clearly understand what administrators are looking for in the classroom.

The evaluation tool and process will be shared with you by the end of the week. 

Yearly Goals

You will be required to have 2 student learning goals and 1 professional goal. Different from years past, you may focus SLG goals on: 1) social and emotional learning for students, 2) student engagement, and/or 3) family engagement. Academic goals may be considered with mutual agreement. Professional goals are your personal goals that you decide you would like to work on.

Fall Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parent teacher conferences are fast approaching-- this year they are scheduled for Monday, November 23rd and Tuesday, November 24th. Both days there is no school for students.

Article 6.7.2 of your union contract states that, “the District shall schedule two (2) parent conferences in the evening on two consecutive evenings.”  Please keep in mind that evening conferences shall last no longer than three (3) hours and shall conclude by 8:30 p.m. November 25th is a no-work day, to compensate for the two evenings. Please make sure your conference schedule complies with our contract, including your dinner break and the end time. 

Individual educators may flex their schedule for parent teacher conferences.  For example, if an educator needs to attend to family needs for portions of the scheduled conference times, they may contact some families to schedule an alternative time for their conferences.  However, if your entire building is planning to hold parent conferences outside of the two dedicated days and evenings, then the educators will need to submit a Contract Exception to the PAT.  

Contract exception applications related to fall conferences will be accepted up until November 3rd, 2020.  All applications submitted by that date will be reviewed by the Advocacy Committee that week.

For all other contract exception applications not related to fall conferences, those applications will be due by December 19th, 2020.

Sick Leave Bank Donation Drive: Now Paperless!

As in past years, we are starting our Sick Leave Bank donation (CBA Article 17.2.1.2.F). When you choose to donate your accrued sick time to the bank, you are doing a great service to a colleague in dire need. Your donated hours allow members on approved medical leave to care for themselves and keep their health benefits after they have exhausted their own accrued sick leave time.  

Every year, we ask members to donate hours so that this program can continue. This year, it is easier than ever to donate hours: you can donate hours by filling out the online PAT/PPS Sick Leave Bank Donation Form! You will need to log in with your PPS email account and include your PPS employee ID number on the form.

Thank you for being part of this crucial program that allows us to support our colleagues through our union. 

Know Your Contract: Submit Transcripts

Know Your Contract: Submit Your Transcripts by October 31st to Retroactively Advance of the Salary Schedule

If you have earned educational credits over the summer, or if you are a new hire and have yet to submit your educational background, you must submit the official documentation to HR no later than October 31st if you want the credits to count retroactively from the start of the year.

The PAT-PPS Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) states in Article 12:

“12.2.1.3  In order to receive a salary adjustment retroactive to the beginning of the current school year, a professional educator must, by October 31st, provide the Human  Resources Department with proof of completion of coursework. Adjustments based upon proof received after October 31st will be made effective the first day of the next pay period.”

If you submit the credits to HR after October 31st, they will move you on the salary schedule, but the credits will not be calculated for any retroactive payments going back to the start of the school year. 

Know Your Contract: Early Retirement

KNOW YOUR CONTRACT: Early Retirement: Benefits and Important Dates

During our last big contract negotiations, PAT protected what is called the “PERS Bubble” (officially called “Re-employment of Retirees”) and the Early Retirement Incentive. Both of those provisions are explained in detail in Article 15 of the PAT/PPS contract.

These benefits assure that educators are able to retire with dignity when they feel it’s time. They are benefits that all PAT members should receive, and they are benefits that we have all fought to maintain.

 

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Get Involved: November is Native American/ Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month

November is National Native American/Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month. The PAT Racial Equity Committee is continuing our book reading recordings to grow the collection of asynchronous material to use in our classrooms.  If you are interested in participating in our storytelling project as a volunteer reader, please fill out this form

If you are looking for some inspiration to prepare for your book reading,  watch our series of PAT Educators reading children's books celebrating Latinx/Hispanic Culture.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for events, curriculum, and resources to help you celebrate Native American/ Indigenous Peoples’ Month with your students.

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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President's Message: Building a More Just Future

Dear Educators,

This fall, we find ourselves in an ongoing state of disruption and uncertainty, and educators continue to go above and beyond to support our students.

Of course, educators are not alone grappling with the stress of this pandemic. We’ve all witnessed the terrible toll of COVID-19, especially for those most impacted- essential workers, those who have lost jobs, those without housing or enough to eat, those bearing the brunt of systemic racism, and everyone who has lost loved ones to the virus.

The pandemic has put a spotlight on the injustice and inequality permeating our society, and we need to do more than simply survive.

We must ensure Oregon emerges from this pandemic stronger.

This November, we have the opportunity to build toward our vision of a more just world, and this election, particularly the presidential race, is critical. I hope you’re doing everything you can to encourage your friends, family, and acquaintances to fill out their ballots and get them turned in.

But with all the national attention, and national significance, of November 3, please don’t ignore the state and local races, as well as a number of breakthrough ballot measures. There is so much opportunity on the Portland ballot to build toward a more just future.

We have the chance to provide essential supports for our students and their families, including providing Preschool for All, and the restoration of programming through our city Parks.

We have the chance to build much needed infrastructure. The PPS bond will ensure planned building renewals move forward, and will also create new partnerships through the Center for Black Student Excellence. We have the chance to invest in our county library system, including investing in the North Portland and Albina libraries, and a new flagship library in East Portland. And we can take a big step forward for public transportation, pedestrian safety, and accessibility through the Metro bond—including making busy roads like 82nd Avenue safe for students- and putting many more buses, bike paths, and sidewalks into service across the city.

These services and infrastructure do cost money, but they also create living-wage jobs for thousands of workers in our community, strengthening our economy and helping jumpstart our recovery.

Finally, we have the chance to make long-needed policy changes to create more justice and transparency. The Real Police Accountability measure will finally create a fair and transparent process for reviewing police use-of-force incidents. And the Fair and Honest Elections measure will finally amend our Constitution to allow for campaign contribution limits, so that we can curb the outsized influence of corporations and the extremely wealthy in decision-making in our state.

Look for your ballot in the mail by the end of the week!

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel
PAT President

VOTE to Invest in Our Values: PAT-Endorsed Ballot Measures

PAT is proud to endorse the following ballot measures on the November ballot which all play a part in building a more just, sustainable, and supportive city.

  • Preschool for All Measure 26-214 has merged with the Universal Preschool for All campaign. The combined package will tax high earners in order to provide preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds in Multnomah County. The plan will also guarantee a living wage for all preschool teachers and assistants, and gives them the right to unionize.
  • Multnomah County Library Bond Measure 26-211 will expand and modernize the library branches in the neighborhoods that need them most, and build a new flagship library in East County. 
  • Portland Schools Bond: Measure 26-215 will invest in our schools with funds to modernize Jefferson High School, create the new Center for Black Student Excellence, update curriculum resources, and make needed safety and accessibility improvements.
  • Let’s Get Moving: Metro Bond Measure 26-218 will improve 17 of our most dangerous and congested roadways, greatly improve public transit options, address climate and equity priorities, and provide free youth passes for everyone under 18.
  • Portland Parks Levy Measure 26-213 will maintain our parks and natural areas and restore vital recreation services and community center offerings, while maintaining jobs.
  • The Real Police Accountability Measure 26-217 will give our community a voice in police use-of-force incidents, ensuring that police live up to our community values. 

PAT PAC Candidate Endorsements

The PAT PAC (Political Action Committee) is proud to endorse the following candidates in the November General Election:

Oregon State Legislature

  • HD 33: Maxine Dexter 
  • HD 36: Lisa Reynolds
  • HD 46: Khanh Pham
  • SD 21: Kathleen Taylor

Portland City Council Position 4: Chloe Eudaly

Metro Council District 5: Mary Nolan

The OEA PAC is proud to endorse the following candidates for state-wide races:

  • Oregon Secretary of State: Shemia Fagan
  • Oregon State Treasurer: Tobias Reed
  • Oregon Attorney General: Ellen Rosenblum

Contribute to the PAT PAC: Make a Difference in Local Elections

Did you know that PAT has our own Political Action Committee (PAT PAC) that helps get great local candidates elected? Dues dollars can’t be used to donate to candidates, so we rely on members like you to make small monthly PAC contributions that, when we all chip in, add up to the ability to make a big difference in getting people into office who support public education, our community, our members, and our students. 

Not a PAC member yet? Sign up here! New members who sign up before Nov. 18 (and current members who increase their contributions) will be entered into a drawing to win gift cards. Everyone who gives to the PAC wins the knowledge that they’re helping to make sure the right people are in public office. 

Know Your Contract: Submit Your Transcripts to Advance on the Salary Schedule

If you have earned educational credits over the summer, or if you are a new hire and have yet to submit your educational background, you must submit the official documentation to HR no later than October 31st if you want the credits to count retroactively from the start of the year.

The PAT-PPS Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) states in Article 12:

“12.2.1.3  In order to receive a salary adjustment retroactive to the beginning of the current school year, a professional educator must, by October 31st, provide the Human Resources Department with proof of completion of coursework. Adjustments based upon proof received after October 31st will be made effective the first day of the next pay period.”

If you submit the credits to HR after October 31st, they will move you on the salary schedule, but the credits will not be calculated for any retroactive payments going back to the start of the school year

Workload Overage for First Semester

While we are in Comprehensive Distance Learning, our current contract language still stands, except when we agree to different terms through a Memorandum of Agrement (MOA). This means our workload overage language in Article 8 is unchanged.

The current PAT/PPS contract states, “Student loads will be calculated on the third Monday in October and the third Monday in February.” (Article 8.3.2.1)

This year, the third Monday in October is Monday, October 19th. All professional educators should save a copy of their Synergy class lists, and of their course preparation lists, on Monday October 19th, and then keep a copy of that record. PPS will make overage payments in the November check. 

Building Representatives should work with their colleagues to troubleshoot overage problems with their building administrators. If a professional educator’s load exceeds the limits in Article 8.3.3, the District will (1) move students to meet the limit, (2) provide a .5 FTE educational assistant for elementary (.5 FTE paraeducator for special education classroom) or (3) issue a stipend payment. 

If any professional educator does not receive payment for an overage, claims can be submitted to PPS in December.    

Getting a Substitute During Distance Learning

Working from home doesn’t mean you should have to work while you are sick.

Educators need to take care of themselves, and nothing has changed about your access to contractual leave in Comprehensive Distance Learning. Remember that you cannot offer the best of yourself to students if you are not able to “be your best” due to illness.

Please utilize substitute educators when you need to take a leave. Doing so ensures that you are able to provide for yourself, your family, and your students. In addition, utilizing substitute educators provides much needed work for our PAT substitute colleagues. 

This summer, PAT defended our substitute educator colleagues through a long and difficult Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) claim. We were able to force PPS to reopen the absence management platform so that classroom educators could access substitutes, and to train all substitute educators in how to access and present material using Google, Canvas, Seesaw, and other platforms. Substitutes have taken this training and are ready to work with your students.

 

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Update on K-5 Report Cards

Our PAT Instruction and Professional Development Committee (IPD) has been working hard since last fall on getting PPS to update and simplify the K-5 Report Card. We have a commitment from PPS that a significantly shorter and more relevant report card will be adopted in time for 2nd Quarter. For the first quarter this year, K-5 teachers will continue to use the Conference Form that has been used for 1st quarter grades for several years. 

Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference: Saturday, October 17th

PAT is once again excited to sponsor the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference! The annual gathering of conversation, idea-sharing, and inspiration is just a few weeks away.

Join us on Saturday, October 17th online. The cost is just $10 — $5 for students.

Register Now

The keynote presentation this year is Revolutionary Public Education at the Crossroads of Race, Class, and COVID featuring Chenjerai Kumanyika and Demetrius Noble.

In addition, there are more than 25 workshops lined up in 2 sessions. See the full program at www.nwtsj.org.

We hope you can make it!

OEA Fall Seminar Series

Beginning on October 17th, the OEA will be hosting an online Fall Seminar Series open to all OEA members. The workshops on offer will be especially useful if you are a new PAT building rep, and will cover such topics as how to communicate and organize with your colleagues virtually, how to effectively influence your administrator, and how to recruit and engage new hires in a digital world. In addition, there are workshops on organizing and how to advance racial equity in contract negotiations. Spots are filling up fast, so please register now.

Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month: The Celebration Continues!

Latinx Heritage Month officially ends on October 15, but we hope the celebration of Latinx culture in your classroom will continue all year.  Find out more on our website. Below are some recent updates:

Resources for your classroom: Please use these recordings with your students of PAT Educators reading their favorite books to celebrate la cultura Hispana. Thank you to:

  • Pedro Cordero, Elementary School Social Worker, reading El Flamboyán Amarillo by Georgina Lázaro
  • Kenya Marquez from Lent Elementary reading I Am Latino by Sandra Pinkney
  • Ginger Huizar, Beaumont Middle School, reading Gabby Lost and Found.
  • Timisha Wilson from Arleta K-8, reading IslandBorn by Junot Diaz