March 13th COVID-19 Communication from PAT

Message sent to our membership on March 13, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator,

As you are hopefully aware, thanks to many of you and your advocacy, the Governor ordered all Oregon Schools to close until March 30th for educators, April 1st for students.

Though closing schools is not easy, we have absolutely made the right decision from a public health perspective. I am so grateful to our Superintendent’s leadership during a very difficult time. He heard our call, and responded the same day.

Naturally, we will all have many questions, and the truth is, we don’t have all the answers. PAT is working with PPS and others across the city and state to make plans that are responsive to the needs of workers, students, and the community. As we know more, we will share. Thank you for your patience and grace as we work through these difficult times.

Here are a few questions we have received with the best answers we have at this time.

Q: Will educators be required to provide online or remote instruction while schools are closed? 

 

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March 12, 2020 COVID-19 Communication from PAT

 

Message sent to our membership on March 12, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator, 

As you know, the situation surrounding coronavirus is very fluid and continues to evolve. There is a lot of uncertainty facing us, not just as educators, but as the people and families who are living with this outbreak. Please know that your health, and that of your families, loved ones, students, colleagues, and communities remains of utmost importance.  

I want to share what PAT is doing to support our members, and answer some questions we have been receiving. In a nutshell, we are fighting to slow down the spread of COVID-19, to make sure our students' needs for food and basic services are met, that graduation can still happen, and we are coordinating with others to safeguard individuals and communities across our city.

First of all, PAT remains in close communication with PPS regarding the virus and schools, we have also been communicating with our nutrition service workers and custodial staff. We meet and discuss issues daily. At this point, it is PAT’s position that it’s not a matter of if, but when, schools will close. We are advocating that notice goes out today, for a date in the future that gives us and our families an opportunity to prepare. The decision to advocate for closing schools does not come lightly to us. Here is just one of many articles that leads us to believe it’s our social imperative to practice greater social distancing. It states:

 

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Bargaining Proposal Showcase- March 16 and 18

UPDATE: Due to school closure, this event is postponed and will be rescheduled.

Since last May, PAT members have been volunteering ideas for new contract language via email, calls, and through work with the Bargaining Committee. In addition, the Bargaining Team has been meeting to bring all those suggestions together into an Initial PAT Bargaining Proposal.

SIGN-UP HERE On Monday, March 16th and Wednesday, March 18th, from 4:30 to approximately 6:30, the PAT Bargaining Team will present the PAT initial proposal to PAT MEMBERS ONLY. The presentation will be held here at the PAT. Because space is limited, we ask that you SIGN-UP HERE if you plan to attend.

Report Your Building Organizer

Please report your building organizer by filling out this form. Thank you!

President’s Message: Everyone Counts in the Census

It may not be something that you’ve thought about before, but I want to share a few reasons why the U.S. Census is so important to the well-being of our students and the strength of our public schools.

First and foremost, the census affects $800 billion in public education funding.

Every year the federal government distributes federal education funds to states and localities—funds that help reduce class sizes, hire specialists, provide preschool to low-income families, and ensure that hungry students can get breakfast or lunch to help them pay attention in class.

These funds are allocated based on population and poverty level, information calculated directly from census data.

UNDERCOUNTED=UNDERSERVED

When children and their families go uncounted, it is unlikely that their schools and communities will receive the resources they need, widening educational inequality.

Young children are at high risk of not being counted. Research shows that the 2010 census missed 10 percent of children under the age of five. That’s more than 2 million kids.

What’s worse is the fact that hard-to-count populations include some of our most vulnerable families: recent immigrants or English language learners; those without stable housing; and children in shared custody arrangements, or those being raised by someone other than their parents.

Because the census count happens only once every 10 years, if we undercount young children, the consequences will last for most of their childhood.

Census data also affects numerous other social programs that directly impact children’s health and academic success, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which keeps millions of families out of poverty.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Because educators are trusted, it’s important that we do our part to reassure students and families that participation in the census is safe, important, and necessary. This is how we help ensure that every community receives its fair share of federal and state funding for schools and other critical services.

So please talk to your family, coworkers, and friends about what is at stake for public schools in the census.

As a middle school math teacher, I also encourage you to participate in Statistics in Schools Week, March 2-6, 2020.

Educators across the country will be teaching students about the importance of the census, and you can find an extensive collection of lesson plans, maps, coloring pages, word finds, and more on the Census Bureau website. Our national union also has a Census toolkit with similar resources.

Thank you for helping us make the 2020 census as accurate and complete as possible. I hope you’ll also consider sending home a reminder about the census with your students. Flyers are available on the NEA website in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

In Solidarity,

Suzanne Cohen
PAT President

PAT Elections Results

On February 24th balloting closed for the PAT election. The following candidates were elected:

President: Elizabeth Thiel

Vice-President: Gwen Sullivan

Secretary: Alisha Chavez-Downing

Treasurer: Diana Collins

Executive Board (5 positions elected):

  • Mike Bauer
  • Greg Burrill
  • Vincent Chirimwami
  • Jacqueline (Jacque) Dixon
  • Rachel Hanes

All of this year’s candidates for NEA RA Delegate and OEA RA Delegate have been elected. Write-in candidates with two or more votes for NEA RA Delegate and OEA RA Delegate will be contacted by PAT in March. Please contact N&E Committee Chair, Ailien Tran (astran2@yahoo.com), if you have any questions.

Thank you to everyone who ran for office and who voted!

PAT PAC Endorsements for the 2020 Primary for Oregon Legislature

The Portland Association of Teachers Political Action Committee (PAT PAC) is proud to announce its endorsements for candidates running for the Oregon Legislature in the May 2020 Primary Election.

This year, the issues of keeping promises and respecting workers have been of central importance to the PAT PAC Board, and to all our PAT PAC members.

The passage of SB1049 last summer -- which reallocates a portion of public employee compensation away from workers’ retirement savings, to use it to pay down the state’s debt -- was deeply troubling to teachers and all public employees.

A vote for this bill represents a lawmakers’ willingness to forgo agreements made in trust, and to force public workers to pay for the state's programs.

Nonetheless, we gave every candidate an opportunity to discuss their vote with us. Some answers horrified us- not only do some of our elected officials show no remorse for their vote, some said they'd do further cuts if needed.

This primary season, the PAT PAC is not endorsing any candidate who voted for SB1049. We are hopeful that moving forward, our Oregon Legislature will be bold champions for workers, public education, and the revenue reform to allow our state to meet the needs of all our state’s children, families, and community members.

The PAT PAC endorsement panel consisted of 9 educators along with OEA staff. The panel considered the following criteria while making their endorsements: support for collective bargaining and the rights of workers; knowledge of education issues; commitment to racial equity; advocacy for strong, fully-funded public schools; and electability.

We are proud to endorse the following candidates for the Oregon State Legislature:

House District 33: Christina Stephenson

As a civil rights attorney, Christina has centered her career around protecting workers. She will be a fierce advocate for labor rights, housing affordability, school funding, and the revenue reform we need to make Oregon a place where all our community members can thrive. As the mom of a kindergartner in PPS, she sees first-hand how direly our schools need the resources to lower classes and offer all the supports that our students need.

House District 36: Laurie Wimmer

We are fortunate to have a strong field of progressive candidates for the HD 36 seat, but Laurie Wimmer surpasses all with her in-depth knowledge of the issues and policies that are most important to educators and families. Her decades of experience as an OEA lobbyist, advocating in Salem for educators and students, give her the political know-how to get things done.

Above all, Laurie’s passion for public education, economic justice, racial equity, and collective bargaining position her to be a champion for PAT members, students, and working families.

House District 42: Paige Kreisman

Paige Kreisman deeply believes in fully funding public schools, strengthening workers rights, and providing needed human services to all Oregonians. Her background as an organizer and advocate for the Portland Democratic Socialists of America demonstrated a willingness to take stand and fight for crucial issues. Although she is not an educator, she gave a firm commitment to collaborate with educators and the PAT on education legislation.

Senate District 21: Kathleen Taylor

Senator Taylor’s record on public education and labor rights speaks for itself. Not only was she a vocal advocate for the Student Success Act, she has consistently voiced the need for structural revenue reform in Oregon so that we can fully fund education, social services, healthcare, and all the things kids and families in Oregon need. She rejected the notion that workers’ retirement accounts be raided to pay down the state’s debt, voting no on SB1049. Her unwavering clear-headed advocacy for revenue reform, labor rights, and public services are a powerful force in Salem.

We look forward to working with these candidates to fully fund our schools, support workers, and better support our students and families.

The PAT PAC is not done-- we will be announcing additional endorsements in the coming weeks.

Bargaining Proposal Showcase: March 16th and 18th

Since last May, PAT members have been volunteering ideas for new contract language via email, calls, and through work with the Bargaining Committee. In addition, the Bargaining Team has been meeting to bring all those suggestions together into an Initial PAT Bargaining Proposal.

On Monday, March 16th and Wednesday, March 18th, from 4:30 PM to approximately 6:30 PM, the PAT Bargaining Team will present the PAT initial proposal to PAT MEMBERS ONLY. The presentation will be held here at the PAT.

Because space is limited, we ask that you sign-up if you plan to attend.

 

PPS Budget Watch—Call for Volunteers

Want to help win the schools our students deserve? Please join fellow PAT members in closely examining the PPS budget and other pertinent financial data so that we can support our Bargaining Team and convincingly demonstrate how PPS can adequately fund all of the vital staffing supports we know our kids deserve—from smaller class sizes to hiring enough behavioral health staff to adequately supporting the social and emotional needs of kids in Portland Public schools. This team will collect and analyze relevant financial data to both support our proposals, and to develop a sound understanding of the District’s financial position and budgetary priorities for the upcoming school year.

We will be meeting in the second week of March to get started with a training and to develop a research plan. If you’re interested in “nerding out” and digging deep into the District’s budget and financial data to achieve the schools that Portland students deserve, please send an email to Peter Brogan at: peter.brogan@oregoned.org

Understanding the Unassignment Process

PAT representatives will meet with the District on March 3rd to review unassignments. Each year PAT staff review every unassignment in PPS to ensure they are done in compliance with the contract. 

Please keep in mind that an unassignment is NOT a layoff. Unassignments happen when an individual building has a reduction in FTE, and the educator who is unassigned is reassigned to another site for the next school year. 

That is accomplished by having unassigned educators apply to available vacant positions. At this time, vacancies will be posted in the Internal transfer process from March 6 – 12 (that date may change), with interviews occurring shortly after that. 

Contract educators, 3rd year probationary educators, and unassigned 1st and 2nd year probationary educators are eligible to apply for vacancies in the Internal transfer process. No external applicant may be considered for a subject area until all unassigned current educators are assigned.

Any concerned educator may ask their Building Reps for a copy of the Unassignment FAQs.

PPS is also holding two meetings for unassigned PAT members at the BESC as follows:

  • March 4: PAT members, unassignment informational meeting, 5:00pm at BESC in the Mazama Conference Room.
  • March 5: PAT members, unassignment informational meeting, 4:30pm at BESC in the Mazama Conference Room.

PAT reps will be on hand at both of these meetings to answer your questions.


K-5 Report Card Re-Design

Thanks to all who came to the IPD meeting on Jan. 8th to give your feedback on how to improve our K - 5 report card. From that group we now have our initial report card redesign committee members. We are also looking for a 3rd or 4th grade DLI teacher to join the team if anyone is interested:

  • Marlena Maestas (K, Glencoe)
  • Martha Gross (2nd gr., Richmond)
  • Christopher Naze (5th gr., Capitol Hill)
  • Elizabeth Israel-Davis (K-5 Rdg. Spec., Grout, and Chair of IPD)

The first meeting with District leadership and parents will be Tuesday, March 10th.

Before that meeting, if you have ideas you would like to share about improving the K-5 report card, please attend the next Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) committee meeting on Wednesday, March 4th, 4:30 - 6:30 PM at the PAT office. 

During that time we will be consolidating the ideas gathered at the January meeting and can also incorporate anything new which may be brought up.

Dinner provided, please RSVP here.

K-5 Report Card Re-Design

Thanks to all who came to the IPD meeting on Jan. 8th to give your feedback on how to improve our K - 5 report card. From that group we now have our initial report card redesign committee members. We are also looking for a 3rd or 4th grade DLI teacher to join the team if anyone is interested:

  • Marlena Maestas (K, Glencoe)
  • Martha Gross (2nd gr., Richmond)
  • Christopher Naze (5th gr., Capitol Hill)
  • Elizabeth Israel-Davis (K-5 Rdg. Spec., Grout, and Chair of IPD)

The first meeting with District leadership and parents will be Tuesday, March 10th.

Before that meeting, if you have ideas you would like to share about improving the K-5 report card, please attend the next Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) committee meeting on Wednesday, March 4th, 4:30 - 6:30 PM at the PAT office. 

During that time we will be consolidating the ideas gathered at the January meeting and can also incorporate anything new which may be brought up.

Dinner provided, please RSVP here.

RSVP for IPD- K-5 Report Card Re-Design (March 4)

RSVP for K-5 Report Card Re-Design: Wednesday, March 4th, 4:30 - 6:30 PM

Dinner provided, please RSVP here (and select "Instruction and Professional Development" as the committee meeting).

Thanks to all who came to the IPD meeting on Jan. 8th to give your feedback on how to improve our K - 5 report card. From that group we now have our initial report card redesign committee members. We are also looking for a 3rd or 4th grade DLI teacher to join the team if anyone is interested.

Before we meet with District leadership and parents will be Tuesday, March 10th, if you have ideas you would like to share about improving the K-5 report card, please attend the next Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) committee meeting on Wednesday, March 4th, 4:30 - 6:30 PM at the PAT office. 

During that time we will be consolidating the ideas gathered at the January meeting and can also incorporate anything new which may be brought up.

Dinner provided, please RSVP here (and select "Instruction and Professional Development" as the committee meeting).

New Educator Social- March 13

UPDATE: Due to school closure, this event has been postponed. 

New Member Social: Friday, March 13th

Calling all Educators new to PPS in the past 4 years-
You are invited to come and meet and mingle with other new educators from across PPS. Come learn more about your union, the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT). You can get your questions answered, play trivia, or just eat, drink, and enjoy a Happy Friday with other educators.

Date: Friday, March 13th 
Time: 4:30-6:30 PM
Place: Great Notion Brewery NW 
2444 NW 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97210

Appetizers and drink tickets provided, register here.

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OEA Symposium: White-Allyship - Saturday, March 14th

The White-Allyship Symposium stems from the belief that racial equality requires more skills in disrupting social norms that perpetuate the status quo.

Few white educators have received explicit support to work collaboratively and inclusively with colleagues of color to dismantle systems and beliefs that perpetuate racial inequality.

How can both parties — white educators, and educators of color — create and sustain strong cross-racial dynamics that enhance collaboration around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion?

This Symposium, sponsored by the Oregon Education Association and facilitated by the Oregon Center for Educational Equity, is centered around nurturing effective and authentic White-Allyship.

Participants will critically reflect on what it means to be a white ally or a person of color engaged in collaborative racial equity work. The focus on working from the inside out to explore both professional and personal issues will challenge participants to step out of their comfort zone and create new entry points for understanding to support effective cross-racial work.

Register online here.

Date: March 14, 2020
Time: 9 AM - 4 PM
Place: Monarch Hotel – Clackamas, 12566 SE 93rd Clackamas, OR 97015

PDX Women’s March: Sunday, March 1st

The PDX Women's March will take place Sunday March 1st from 12:00 - 3:00 PM in the South Park Blocks near PSU.

The 2020 theme is "Remember and Rise." The PDX Women's March is a family-friendly permitted event welcoming all women and their allies.

You can find out more on the PDX Women's March website!

New Member Social: Friday, March 13th

Calling all Educators new to PPS in the past 4 years-
You are invited to come and meet and mingle with other new educators from across PPS. Come learn more about your union, the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT). You can get your questions answered, play trivia, or just eat, drink, and enjoy a Happy Friday with other educators.

Date: Friday, March 13th
Time: 4:30-6:30 PM
Place: Great Notion Brewery NW
2444 NW 28th Ave, Portland, OR 97210

Appetizers and drink tickets provided, register here.

California Casualty Art Challenge

Impact Teen Drivers and California Casualty, the OEA/NEA Auto & Home Insurance provider, are challenging students to develop artistic ideas to combat reckless and distracted driving.

The Create Real Impact contest will provide an opportunity for students ages 14 – 22 to win $1,500 in one of six categories. Three schools with the most entries will each be awarded a $1,000 educational grant.

The Create Real Impact contest details are available online.

Join Us for These Upcoming Events!

Wednesday, February 26th

  • 4:30 PM: PAT RA

Wednesday, March 4th

  • 12:00 PM: PAT Executive Board Retreat Mtg (MOVED from 2/19/20)
  • 4:30 PM: Bargaining Committee Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: IPD Committee Mtg

Monday, March 9th

  • 4:30 PM: Substitute Committee Meeting
  • 5:00 PM: OEA Workshop- Quality Assessment Practices

Wednesday, March 11th

  • 4:30 PM: Membership Committee Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: Racial Equity Committee Mtg
  • 4:30 PM: SJCO Committee (and BLM sub-committee) Mtg

Wednesday, March 18th

  • 4:30 PM: PAT Executive Board Mtg

March 21-March 29th

  • PPS Schools Closed for Spring Break

Wednesday, April 1st

  • 4:30 PM: PAT RA

Teach Climate Justice: Friday at the Movies

Join the Portland Public Schools Climate Justice Committee and the PAT for a social and educational gathering to view and discuss the new film, Necessity: Oil, Water, and Climate Resistance.

RSVP Here

Necessity traces the fight in Minnesota against the expansion of pipelines carrying highly toxic tar sands oil through Native lands and essential waterways in North America. The film offers an intimate look at what happens when people of conscience disobey the law, but stand up for Indigenous rights, environmental justice, and our future.

Panel discussion after screening. Refreshments provided. Free admission.

Teach Climate Justice: Friday at the Movies

When: Friday, Feb. 21, 4 to 6 pm (4 - 4:30 pm social; 4:30 to 6 pm program)

Where: Portland Association of Teachers, 345 NE 8th Ave.

Printable Flyer available here.

 

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President's Message: Your Voice, Your Vote

"There's no such thing as a vote that doesn't matter." 

- President Barack Obama

Election season is in full swing! In fact, it’s difficult to escape the media coverage of the 2020 Presidential election sometimes.

What’s too often overlooked is the fact that there are a number of other important races closer to home which will have an impact, not just on Portland, but the entire state. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen the impact elections can have, both nationally, and here in Oregon. This year, more than ever, we need to work together to help elect individuals who support educators, public education, and the students and communities we serve.

We know most people across the state—and across the country— support public education and share our broader values. But if they don’t get involved, or get to the polls, the people intent on undermining our public institutions will win. 

The National Education Association has been hard at work helping members get involved in the Presidential election. If you haven’t already, we recommend checking out the NEA's Presidential election website. 

 

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PAT Nominations & Elections Committee Report

On February 10th an email will be sent to PAT members’ PPS email accounts, which will include a link to their ballot,  candidate statements, photos, and a videotape of their speeches from the January 29th PAT Rep Assembly.

The following are the candidates for all of the major offices in this election:

President (vote for 1): Elizabeth Thiel

Vice-President (vote for 1):

  • Madeleine Allen
  • Al Rabchuk
  • Gwen Sullivan 

Secretary (vote for 1): Alisha Chavez-Downing

Treasurer (vote for 1): Diana Collins

Executive Board (vote for 5):

  • Mike Bauer
  • Chris Buehler
  • Greg Burrill
  • Vincent Chirimwami
  • Jacqueline (Jacque) Dixon
  • Rachel Hanes
  • Jacob Jonas-Closs
  • RaeAnn Thompson
  • Tanan Woods

Please remember to vote by Monday, February 24, 2020, by 5:00 PM, outside of your work hours.

We’ve received a number of questions regarding candidates’ use of the PAT Discussion Group Facebook page for their campaigns. Our committee discussed this at length at our December 2019 meeting. The PAT Discussion Group page isn’t monitored frequently, unless someone reports an offensive post. No one on the committee is an admin for the page either. We decided not to change the status quo. Candidates have posted about their candidacy on that page in the past. Of course, this may change for future elections.