President's Message: Size Matters

As educators, we know first-hand the difference a smaller class size or caseload can make for our students.

The smaller the class size, the more we’re able to give each student the individualized attention they deserve. We can formatively assess our students and give them timely feedback. Smaller class sizes allow for more inclusive practices and constructivist learning.

We know it, and our families know it too!

 

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Renew the Portland Teacher Levy: Yes for Teachers, Yes for Kids!

This November, Portland Voters will be asked once again to renew the Teacher Levy. The Levy renews the current rate that has funded an average of 825 teaching positions a year in Portland Public Schools. It is crucial for our students and our schools that the Levy passes, and as educators, we are its best spokespeople. Here is some information to help you talk to community members about the Levy.

Levy Facts:

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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.

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Setting Priorities for the Student Success Act

During the October 22nd staff meeting, your PAT Rep(s) and a building administrator will be facilitating a conversation about Student Success Act priorities. This conversation will inform the District’s allocation of Student Success Act dollars and hopefully help shape the PPS budget for next year. You will also be given time to take a survey assessing the District’s needs.

Consultation with educators is required as part of the new law, but PAT leadership expressed concerns over the District’s original proposal of doing a single evening forum. We’re very excited that the District has responded to our concerns, and we believe that, together, we’ve come up with a much better plan.

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PAT Game Night for Educators of Color: October 17th

PAT's Racial Equity Task Force invites all Educators of Color to our upcoming Game Night. Please join us for an evening of games, food, drinks, fun, and an opportunity to connect.

Thursday, October 17th, 4:30-6:30 at PAT (345 NE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97232)

RSVP here if you can come, and select "Racial Equity Task Force" as your committee. Please contact Nichole Watson (nichole.watson@oregoned.org) with any questions.

We hope you can make it! Please help spread to word to other educators of color.

Help the Instruction and Professional Development Committee Address the GVC!

Our Instruction and Professional Development Committee has decided that one of our main goals this year will be to engage central office administrative leaders in a conversation about educators’ experience with the GVC.  To that end, we need your feedback about your experience with these elements of the GVC:

RSVP here

  • Content
  • Order of standards
  • Interface/formatting
  • Responsiveness to educator feedback

 

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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.

Compete Your Required Trainings by October 24th

Don’t forget, Article 7.10.3 of the PAT/PPS contract states that “Professional educators will be responsible for completing four (4) hours of District mandatory on-line training outside of scheduled staff meeting time.” 

The due date for completion is OCTOBER 24th! 

All educators will be automatically assigned the 2019-20 courses under “My Current Courses” in Pepper, the District’s Professional Learning Management System. You can access Pepper at pepper.pps.net.

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. 

 

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Review Upcoming Bylaw Proposals

PAT has a set of bylaws, or rules by which we govern and regulate ourselves.

Your Bylaws Committee will present a set of changes to your building reps at the Representative Assembly on Wednesday, October 16th.

These will be voted on by your reps at the next R.A., on November 13th. You can see the full PAT bylaws, with changes here. You can also find a summary of changes with rationales.

October 21st Retirement Seminar—Is It Time to Retire?

Join Ed Foster, NEA Benefits Specialist, for a seminar entitled "Time to Retire?".

Topics include:

  • Understanding the re-employment option with the District for the remainder of the school year (formerly called the “PERS Bubble");
  • Recent PERs legislative changes and their impact;
  • PERS options at retirement and the IAP account;
  • Other financial considerations for the soon-to-be retired.

Date:               Monday, October 21st
Time:               4:30 – 6:30 PM
Location:         PAT office, 345 NE 8th Ave

Please RSVP here.

Updates to the TELL Survey

The Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) survey is changing!

For starters, it won’t be called the TELL Survey anymore. We’re not sure what its new name will be or when the new survey will be administered.

However, this is our chance to give feedback, and hopefully improve, the survey.

  • Are there questions that should be asked that haven’t been?
  • Are there questions that you or your co-workers use that you want to be sure remain?
  • Are there questions you wish were never asked?

Send your feedback to patpresident@oregoned.org

Remember to Turn in Your Educational Credits by October 31st

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 from the start of the year.

The 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 counted retroactively to the start of the school year.

Using Professional Development Funds

The PAT/PPS contract provides funds for professional development as well as tuition reimbursement. The Professional Improvement Fund allows educators to spend $1500 over three years for transportation, meals, lodging, and registration costs to attend a conference, provided it has a legitimate pedagogical purpose.

In our last contract negotiations, we ensured that these funds are also available to temporary teachers whose positions are expected to exist for more than 135 days.

You will need to follow these guidelines to access the Professional Improvement Fund. The District will also reimburse professional educators for tuition cost for up to six (6) non-cumulative hours in a 12-month period for which graduate credit is granted by a college or university. See the PAT/PPS contract for details and the PPS website for how to access your tuition reimbursement.

Join Us for the 12th Annual North West Teachers for Social Justice Conference – October 19th

This year's NWTSJ conference is fast approaching! We will be back in Seattle at Chief Sealth International High School, on Saturday October 19th. Register now at nwtsj.org. Just $35 ($10 for students), which includes lunch.

We are thrilled to have Barbara Madeloni as this year's keynote speaker. Madeloni is the Education Coordinator at Labor Notes. From 2014 to 2018, she served as president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association where she played a key role in revitalizing the 116,000-member union and defending teacher rights and quality public schools.

This year's conference has more than 80 workshops. A sampling includes:

  • How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Mixer on Housing Segregation
  • Learning from Indigenous Women Change-makers in Elementary Civics
  • Reproductive and Gender Justice: A Key Part of Sexuality Education
  • Decolonizing Your Classroom: Students and Teachers United (part of a three-session Ethnic Studies Block)
  • Positive Disability Identity: Shifting Cultural Narratives Around Disability
  • Beyond State Borders: Red for Ed Regional Organizing in the Northwest
  • The Intersectionality of Climate Justice and LGBTQ+ Resistance
  • Growing a Gender-Inclusive Biology Curriculum
  • Home Language as a Human Right: Welcoming Students' Languages into Our Classrooms

PAT Game Night for Educators of Color: October 17th

PAT's Racial Equity Task Force invites all Educators of Color to our upcoming Game Night. Please join us for an evening of games, food, drinks, fun, and an opportunity to connect.

Thursday, October 17th, 4:30-6:30 at PAT (345 NE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97232)

RSVP here if you can come, and select "Racial Equity Task Force" as your committee. Please contact Nichole Watson (nichole.watson@oregoned.org) with any questions.

We hope you can make it! Please help spread to word to other educators of color.

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Retirement Planning Seminar: October 21st

Are you thinking of retirement or taking early-retirement?

PAT is excited to host another Retirement Seminar as a benefit for our members. Topics for this seminar will include the recent changes to PERS, early retirement incentives from the District, and much more.

RSVP here and get a jump on your planning.

Monday, October 21st, 4:30-6:00pm at PAT (345 NE 8th Ave, Portland, OR 97232)

Not quite for you, but still curious about retirement? Please stay tuned as we will have other seminars coming up for newer PPS employees and mid-career educators.   

Hope to see you there!

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Shaping PPS Priorities for Student Success Act Dollars

Once it's fully implemented, the Student Success Act could inject an additional $39 million a year into PPS. The District has to submit its priorities to the state by December 5th, but under terms of the new law the District is required to seek input from PPS educators and staff, as well as historically underserved communities, regarding how PPS should invest these additional resources.

We’re going to make sure the District gets a clear picture of how educators across PPS think the new funds should be utilized, and there are many avenues for providing your input.

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Help the Instruction and Professional Development Committee Address GVC!

Our Instruction and Professional Development Committee has decided that one of our main goals this year will be to engage central office administrative leaders in a conversation about educators’ experience with the GVC.  To that end, we need your feedback about your experience with these elements of the GVC:

RSVP here

Continue reading

Renew the Portland Teacher Levy: Yes for Teachers, Yes for Kids!

This November, Portland Voters will be asked once again to renew the Teacher Levy. The Levy renews the current rate that has funded an average of 825 teaching positions a year in Portland Public Schools. It is crucial for our students and our schools that the Levy passes, and as educators, we are its best spokespeople. Here is some information to help you talk to community members about the Levy.

Levy Facts:

Continue reading

Racial Equity Focus: Wilson High School Students Hold Community Conversation to Address Racism and Harassment

On Thursday, September 26th, students from Wilson High School organized a conversation for parents and community members regarding the racism they have experienced on campus.

This event was sparked by an OPB article this summer highlighting racism at three PPS high schools. In this article, students reported enduring blatant racism such as, “N-words” carved into desks, swastikas drawn on lockers, native languages being mocked, and tokenism for many students of color.

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Racial Equity Focus: Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Happy Jewish New Year!! Rosh Hashanah (September 30th) is the first day of the Jewish Holy Days! This day embarks on a 10-day journey leading to Yom Kippur (October 9th). As our Jewish friends, students and fellow teachers observe this day (and the days to come), it is a great opportunity to do some searching, reading and learning about its values and significance in the Jewish community.

Again, our ability to teach the events, histories, traditions, faiths, and customs that are different from our own is evidence of our ally-ship and commitment to racial equity and social justice.