President's Message: A Time for Helping Others

On behalf of myself and the entire PAT leadership team, we wanted to wish you a happy and restful break.

We also wanted to remind you of the OEA Foundation, a wonderful organization to support, as well as a way to help any of your students who may be in need.

Established in 1995, the OEA Foundation provides educators with up to $100 grants to help students meet basic, urgent, and immediate needs so they can succeed in school. Cash grants from the Foundation fill needs unmet by any other source.

Since the beginning, the key source for these critical grants has been donations from OEA members and staff. The OEA family continues to be generous in their support, through payroll deductions, cash and online donations. You can give just $1 or $2 dollars a month!

The Oregon Education Association funds all of the administrative costs of the Foundation, which allows all donations to be used to provide direct assistance to students.

The OEA Foundation has purchased countless pairs of eyeglasses, provided many students with winter coats, paid for dental work and doctor visits, fitted new shoes on lots of feet, and even replaced a broken bedroom window.

When all is said and done, the OEA Foundation works to ensure that the physical, social, and emotional needs of students do not stand in the way of success in school.

If you know of a student you can help, apply now.

Find out more information, donate online, or apply for a grant.

In Solidarity,

Suzanne Cohen
PAT President

Our Overage Pay Dispute with the District

n the 2018/2019 school year, PAT members secured contract language that formally recognized the impact of class sizes and caseloads. Both sides recognized that students are adversely impacted by large classes and by limited service time due to large caseloads, and agreed that educators should be compensated when their workload exceeds a mutually agreed upon standard.

Because this agreement was the first of its kind in Oregon, and because none of the District staff responsible for processing overage pay were part of the negotiations, PPS initially failed to implement a fairly large portion of the overage language.

PAT and PPS eventually smoothed out these differences, in an effort to avoid a lengthy grievance dispute regarding overages. Last year, we reached a common understanding of how to implement many of the new parts of our contract, and the vast majority of PAT members received correct overage payments when they were required.

Unfortunately, several of the remaining issues were still being ironed out when the District declared on December 11th that PPS is no longer going to work from our common understandings, and instead simply implement its interpretation of our overage language.

The most egregious example is PPS’s wildly different approach to A/B schedules at the Middle School level, compared to High School. Essentially, PPS claims that because the periods are of different lengths, Middle School students only count as half a student for the purpose of overages. A PAT member who works an A/B schedule in Middle School can therefore be assigned 300 students a semester (or 440 students for Specialists) before the educator would receive compensation for overages.

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Probationary Teacher Mid-Year Evaluation Timelines

Probationary teachers are formally evaluated at least two times during the school year. By the last work day before Winter Break, all probationary teachers should have received their first evaluation report.

This mid-cycle evaluation must be based on at least one formal observation cycle, which requires a pre-observation conference, the observation, and a post-observation conference.

In addition to the formal observation cycle, the mid-year evaluation may include evidence from informal observations, artifacts, assessments, and other evidence collected throughout the first half of the school year.

The mid-cycle formal evaluation requires a Mid-Cycle Summative Evaluation Meeting, separate from the post-observation conference. Prior to that meeting, the evaluator must give the educator a draft of the Mid-Cycle Summative Evaluation Report (Form 5) at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting.

Any rating given in the evaluation report must be based on direct evidence that is written in the evaluation report. Review Article 27 of the PAT/PPS contract and the PPS Handbook for Professional Growth and Evaluation to determine whether the required procedures have been followed regarding your evaluation. Both are available on the PAT website.

If the evaluator has stated that they “DO NOT RECOMMEND” you for continued employment if your performance continues as it is, contact your PAT Rep ASAP. You also have the right to submit a written objection/rebuttal that is attached to the evaluation report in your personnel file if you feel the evaluation was incomplete or unjust. The written objection should normally be made within 30 days of receipt of the evaluation.

A template to assist you is provided here.

OEA Promising Practices Grant Opportunity

Every year, the Oregon Education Association gives Promising Practices Grants to educators to support student learning and professional development for OEA members across Oregon. This year, there is $2,000 available for grants to PAT members.

Grants can be used to fund projects or materials that support improved student achievement. The application is available here and applications are due to Jennifer.Dixon@oregoned.org by January 31, 2020.

Applications will be reviewed by the Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) committee on February 5, 2020. OEA makes final decisions in late April or early May.

In the event there are more funds requested than are available, the committee will consider the following in determining how to disperse funds among qualifying grant applications:

  • Is the grant requester a first-time applicant?
  • Does it serve a historically underserved population of students?
  • How many students will be positively  impacted?
  • Does it support an early-career educator?

Teacher for a Day: Bringing Decision-makers Into Our Classrooms

On Thursday, December 12th your Legislative Committee hosted their Teacher for A Day event. We had nineteen teachers hosting legislators, legislative candidates, union leaders, and District personnel across the city. Teachers put their guests to work teaching lessons, leading small groups, and dissecting pig hearts, and provided an authentic experience of a frontline PPS educator.

Check out a list of our host teachers and their guests!

  • Jess Hutchinson @ Abernethy hosted Roshni Sabedra, PPS Senior Manager - Employee and Labor Relations
  • Kyle Cook @ Arleta hosted Emily Gafne, PPS Senior Manager - Employee and Labor Relations
  • Stephanie Macdonald @ Beach hosted Andrea Salinas, Oregon State Representative
  • Valerie Turner @ Beaumont hosted Michael Denbrow, Oregon State Senator
  • Ilsa Bruer @ Benson hosted Adam Meyer, candidate for House District 36
  • Richard Melling @ Chapman hosted Serin Bussell, Candidate for House District 33
  • Chrishana Tucker @ Chapman hosted Dr. Lisa Reynolds, Candidate for House District 36
  • Ian Mauer @ Cleveland hosted Paige Kreisman, Candidate for House District 42
  • Elaine Winn @ Creston hosted Rob Nosse, Oregon State Representative, House District 42
  • Julia Peattie @ Harrison Park hosted OEA Vice President Reed Scott-Schwalbach
  • Laura Jenness @ Harrison Park hosted Elvyss Argueta, OEA State-wide political organizer
  • Maureen Kenny @ Lincoln hosted Andy Saultz, Candidate for House District 33
  • Kelly Dwight @ Madison hosted Lavert Robertson, CEO of All Hands Raised
  • Janelle Nelson @ Markham hosted Christina Stephenson, Candidate for House District 33
  • Ali Herron @ Marysville hosted Stephanie Soden-Back, PPS Chief of Staff
  • Nahir Perez @ Rigler hosted Barbara Smith Warner, Oregon State Representative House District 45
  • Kesia Micheletti @ Roosevelt hosted Tina Kotek, Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives
  • Loan Zieh @ Rose City Park, hosted PPS Chief Financial Officer Cynthia Le
  • Melody Hiser @ Skyline hosted Jennifer Williamson, Oregon State Representative for House District 36, and candidate for Oregon Secretary of State

After spending several hours in classrooms, teachers and their guests were invited back to the PAT office for lunch and a debrief of the time in the classroom. Our teachers clearly communicated our dire need for smaller class sizes, mental health support for our students, less standardized assessments, and updated facilities.

Solidarity with Custodial and Nutrition Service Workers!

The Nutrition Services and Custodial departments in PPS are in a staffing crisis, thanks to longstanding under-funding. Conditions are so poor that workers in both departments are frequently resigning on the spot.

These workers are represented by SEIU Local 503 and have been negotiating with the District for seven months. Despite the District’s decision to hire an anti-union law firm, SEIU has made some big gains in Nutrition Services and they are close to an acceptable wage scale. PPS rejected their recent proposal to bring Custodial wages in line with neighboring districts and so they remain pretty far apart.

In addition to this, a major sticking point is retro pay. The District delayed negotiations for several months. As a result, custodians and nutritionists have been working under an expired contract since July, and PPS has refused the union’s demand to make the settlement retroactive.

Our colleagues have struggled with staffing shortages and overwhelming workloads this entire school year, and now it is time for the District to make it right. SEIU is fighting to make these living-wage jobs again to ensure safe and healthy schools for PPS students.

All PAT members are encouraged to show solidarity with our SEIU sisters and brothers by wearing a sticker in support of a fair contract on Friday December 20th, the day of SEIU’s next bargaining session. You can get stickers from your building rep starting on Thursday. You can also show support by sending messages to the Superintendent and the School Board calling on them to reach a fair settlement with these workers using the following link

Elementary Report Card Redesign

Do you have ideas for how to improve the K-5 report card? Please come to the Instruction and Professional Development Committee meeting on Wednesday, January 8, 4:30-6:30 PM at PAT. Dinner provided. RSVP on the PAT website.

Our contract gives us the right to talk directly to District leaders about professional issues in our monthly Instructional Practices Council meeting. Last month, they agreed to work toward the goal of redesigning our K-5 report card by next Fall. To that end, we invite you to IPD to discuss what you want in a K-5 report card. Bring your frustrations, ideas, and examples of what could work.

Join Us for These Upcoming Events!

Wednesday, December 18th

  • 4:30 PM: PAT RA

Friday, December 20th

  • 10:00 AM: OEA Retired Travel Committee @ PAT

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

  • 4:30 PM: Advocacy Cmte Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: Bargaining Cmte Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: IPD Cmte Mtg

Thursday, January 9, 2020

  • 4:30 PM: Legislative Committee / PAT-PAC Board Mtg

Monday, January 13, 2020

  • 4:30 PM: Substitute Committee Meeting

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

  • 9:00 AM: District BCT Meeting

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

  • 4:30 PM: Black Lives Matter Cmte Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: Membership Cmte Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: Racial Equity Cmte Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: SJCO Cmte Mtg

Friday, January 17, 2020

  • 1:00 PM: Contract Administration @ PAT

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

  • 4:30 PM: PAT Executive Board Mtg

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Retirement Seminar January 23rd, Please RSVP

For PAT Members!

Are you a mid-career educator looking to check-in and get more information on retirement planning? Portland Association of Teachers is excited to host another Financial Planning Seminar as a benefit for our active PAT members.

Please RSVP here

Join Ed Foster, NEA Benefits Specialist, for a seminar entitled "Half-Way There!"

Topics include:

  • How does my pension work?
  • How does the IAP account fit into that ?
  • When can I retire? How much will I need?
  • How will recent changed to PERS affect me?

And more!

Date:               Thursday, January 23rd
Time:               4:30 – 6:00 PM
Location:         PAT office, 345 NE 8th Ave, Portland, 97232

We hope you will be able to join us.

 

Host a Guest Teacher for a Day

One of the most important events that PAT hosts is Teacher for a Day. We invite policy makers, community leaders, and other partners to see our classrooms first hand. This year it will take place on Thursday, December 12th.

If you are interested in hosting a guest teacher in your classroom, please sign up here or contact Madeleine Allen at allenmd17@gmail.com.

Student Loan Debt Forgiveness & Basic Financial Planning Workshop - 12/02/19

Do You Have a Student Loan?

PAT members are invited to attend a Student Loan Debt & Basic Financial Planning Workshop on Monday, December 2, 2019, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., at the PAT office.

Please RSVP here.

Learn about the various types of federal student loan forgiveness programs and how to use the new NEA Student Loan Forgiveness Navigator Tool (SAVI) to determine your eligibility for a federal forgiveness program and the potential reduction in your loan debt.  Information on basic financial essentials and financial planning will also be provided. 

 

For more information, please see our flyer.

President's Message: On the Brink of Something Big

Last week, more than three-quarters of Portland voters cast a ballot for the Portland Teacher Levy.

They overwhelmingly support what educators already know—our students deserve smaller class sizes.

Every time we talk to students, families, and communities, like our amazing Student Success Act community forum October 28th, this message comes through loud and clear.

PAT members have also made it clear to the District where Student Success Act dollars should be directed.

Eighty percent of all respondents to our recent survey with the District rated smaller class sizes or social emotional supports for students as their top priority for new SSA funding. (You can view the full survey results here).

 

Continue reading

Become a PAT Leader! Run for Union Office

The PAT Nominations & Elections Committee announces that nominations will open on November 13, 2019, at the November PAT Representative Assembly for election to several PAT positions. 

The positions are: PAT President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, PAT Executive Board Directors (5 positions), PAT Delegate to the Oregon Education Association or National Education Association Representative Assemblies.

Any PAT member in good standing may run for any of these positions.  Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office.  Detailed information about the terms and duties of the positions and the Nomination Form may be found here.

Nominations close on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.  

The Voters’ Pamphlet and Ballots will be sent electronically to members on February 10, 2020.  Votes must be cast by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, February 24, 2020.

For more information, you can refer to the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.

Universal Pre-K is Coming to Portland!

The Universal Preschool NOW! coalition is finalizing a ballot measure that will bring universal, year-round, culturally inclusive preschool to all 4-year-olds in Multnomah County!  They have asked for educator feedback on their plan, so PAT will be hosting a discussion on their proposal, Monday November 18th at 4:30 PM at the PAT office.

We will provide dinner for you if you RSVP online.

Below is a message from the coalition:

“We have been advocating reliance on play-based curricula, provided by workers earning living wages in a range of languages and settings, including schools, community centers and family child care, with coaches and other professional development supports.

“We would love to meet with PAT members with expertise in early childhood education to discuss what is needed to help kids successfully transition to kindergarten and set them up for success in public school.  We hope you’ll join us to provide us the feedback on our language, and to ensure that kids, teachers, and families get what they really need!”

You can download the flyer here.

No Make-Up Conferences When Families Are on Vacation

Family Conferences are one of the many tools we have to boost student success. It’s a chance for us to talk to families holistically about their child—including their curiosity, love of learning, and critical thinking skills.

These two days are long and exhausting, but they’re also filled with meaningful conversations, personal connections, and other opportunities to build community.

This year, conferences are scheduled right before Thanksgiving. Some families may not be able to attend due to travel. Our Superintendent made it clear that make-up conferences do not need to be scheduled when families can’t attend because of travel. Instead, they may want to schedule a video-conference, phone call, or email contact during the time period designated for conferences.

As educators, we try to be flexible, doing whatever it takes to meet with families, especially those whose work schedules or other obligations make it hard to meet during the designated conference time. Just remember, we don’t need to schedule make-up conferences because families are on vacation. You deserve to enjoy your holidays just as much as your students and their families.


Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Estimates of the population of the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of Europeans range from 8 million to more than 100 million. Specifically, in Oregon there are nine (9) Federally Recognized Tribes and ten (10) tribes that are not federally recognized. 
 
Learning about tribal nations and indigenous history is important for all students and teachers. Each nation has a distinct origin, timeline of historical events and contemporary context that is unique to its language, culture and traditions. 
Education has been complicit in playing a destructive role in the telling and teaching of authentic history as it happened on our soil. And in spite of the various ways colonialism has attempted to silence the indigenous voice, there are tribes and nations that are very much resilient, beautiful and strong. 
Continue reading

Teacher for a Day: Classroom Hosts Needed

One of the most important events that PAT hosts is Teacher for a Day.

We invite policy-makers, community leaders, and other partners to see our classrooms first hand.

This year it will take place on Thursday, December 12th.

If you are interested in hosting a guest teacher in your classroom, please sign up here or contact Madeleine Allen at allenmd17@gmail.com.

Do You Have a Student Loan?

PAT members are invited to attend a Student Loan Debt & Basic Financial Planning Workshop on Monday, December 2, 2019, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m., at the PAT office.

Learn about the various types of federal student loan forgiveness programs and how to use the new NEA Student Loan Forgiveness Navigator Tool (SAVI) to determine your eligibility for a federal forgiveness program and the potential reduction in your loan debt.  Information on basic financial essentials and financial planning will also be provided. 

Find additional information here and RSVP online.

Help a Colleague in Need - Donate to the Sick Leave Bank!

The PAT Sick Leave Bank (see PAT/PPS contract Article 17.2.1.2) provides aid for colleagues who have exhausted their accumulated leave balances but are unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they are able to avoid the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage during their illness. 

The Sick Leave Bank is funded completely by voluntary contributions of sick leave days from PAT educators. PAT may solicit voluntary contributions up to 4000 hours each year. Thanks to your generosity, in school year 2018-19 the hours you donated allowed us to help twenty-two colleagues in need. 

Beginning this year, the number of hours one may contribute has been increased from 24 hours to up to 40 hours of sick leave annually. Employees who have submitted notice of resignation are exempted from this maximum limit and may contribute more. 

It’s a new school year with a new Sick Leave Bank to fill. Help us reach the maximum of 4000 hours.  Please donate here and thank you!

OEA Webinar on Trauma-Informed Practices: December 2nd

Join the Oregon Education Association for a webinar on Trauma-Informed Practices.

The session will cover behavior intervention strategies for educators and paraprofessionals. It will cover root causes of disruptive behavior and a number of proactive and reactive strategies educators can begin using right away.

Date: December 2nd 
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 PM

This workshop is exclusively for PAT members and you can register online with the OEA.  

Overage Pay Determination

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 21st.

All professional educators should save a copy of their Synergy class lists, and of their course preparation lists, on Friday, October 18th, and then keep a copy of that record. PPS will make overage payments in the November check.

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