May 1, 2020 Communication from PAT- re PPS Discussions re Potential Furloughs and Work Share

Message sent to our membership on May 1st, 2020

Dear PAT Colleagues:

       As many of you may have heard, PPS has approached the PAT, other PPS unions, and non-represented employees about the possibility of furloughing employees by 20% for the last five weeks of school this year.  Their goal is to save general fund resources.  PPS’s desire to furlough workers now is because of the extraordinary increase in unemployment in Oregon, and the loss of business for so many small businesses.  Oregon knows that the amount of tax dollars coming into the state will be far less than was originally forecast, and the Governor has asked school districts to plan for significant reductions in funds next year.  The PPS idea to have a temporary furlough for all employees is its response to this funding crisis; PPS wants to save as much as it can for staffing next year.

       The PPS plan is that employees would work four days a week for the rest of the 2019/2020 school year, and have our members make no less than their regular salary.  This would be accomplished by using the Work Share program of Oregon and Federal Cares Act funding.  Work Share is a program that protects employee income in situations where an employer has to cut employee hours in order to avoid layoffs.  By utilizing the Work Share funds, PPS will achieve a temporary furlough, members will keep their pre-furlough health benefit levels, and with the funds from the Work Share program, professional educators would make as much (or more) than they did prior to the cuts.

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April 24, 2020 Communication from PAT- re Latest Developments with PPS

Message sent to our membership on April 24th, 2020 

Dear Educator,

On Tuesday, April 21st, PPS met with PAT leadership to discuss budget issues for the academic year 2020-2021. Because Oregon is dependent on income tax revenue, we all understand from prior recessions, that lower income tax revenue means cuts to public sector services. Both PPS and PAT want to find a way to diminish the impact of the loss of revenue to the school district.   

We wanted to let you know that we are exploring with PPS some possibilities for the remainder of this school year. Though we can’t share details yet, and aren’t even sure what is possible- we did agree to explore options. A few things we wanted to make sure you know:

  • PAT cannot, and will not, agree to anything without presenting the details to you, and having members vote on it
  • PAT is exploring options that do not harm members financially this year
  • PAT is working in collaboration with other unions

At this time we have nothing concrete to report. As soon as we find out more about our options we will communicate further.

In Solidarity,

Portland Association of Teachers
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

April 23, 2020 Communication from PAT- re Ergonomics

Message sent to our membership on April 23rd, 2020 

Dear Educator,

We know that distance teaching and learning is hard, but it shouldn't hurt!

Most of us aren't accustomed to spending so much time sitting in front of screens, especially in work spaces we've had to design ourselves.

PAT worked with The Standard (one of our partners with our Health and Welfare Trust) to get some tips on how to help prevent and alleviate some of the physical aches and pains caused by poor ergonomics.

First, there are some stretching techniques that might help, especially if you've already noticed some strain on your muscles and joints.

Also, we want to make sure that you've set up your home office the best way for your body. Here are a few resources:

Ergonomic Home Office

Ergonomic Zombies Training Video

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April 23, 2020 Communication from PAT- re OEA Relief Fund for Subs

Message sent to our membership on April 23rd, 2020 

Dear Educator,

In recognition that substitute educators have been disproportionately affected by a loss of income due to the COVID-19 school closure, OEA has opened up its Relief Fund to all OEA Union members employed as substitutes who have experienced a loss in salary during this time.

You can find more information about the OEA Relief Fund and complete an application by clicking here.

Each individual applicant will be awarded up to a maximum of $1,000 after the application is processed. To be eligible to receive funds, you must have become an OEA member by March 2nd, 2020.

We appreciate all your work and hope you continue to be well.

In Solidarity,

Portland Association of Teachers
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

April 13, 2020 Communication from PAT- re Leaves of Absence

Message sent to our membership on April 13th, 2020 

Dear Educator,

We know many of you have questions regarding leaves of absence. Below is a brief overview we’ve put together to give you some more information and to answer some of your questions. If, after reading through this, you still have questions or need assistance with applying for a leave of absence, please email us at PortlandTeachers@gmail.com, and don’t forget to include your work location in your email. (To view the below information as a PDF, please click here.)

 

Covid-19 Related Emergency Leaves of Absence

Last updated 4/13/2020

You are legally entitled to make use of all the new leaves of absence programs that have been created at the Federal level due to Covid-19 closures.  However, PPS has communicated to your PAT leadership, that PPS would prefer that you remain at work (telework). School administrators will work with you to flex your schedule as necessary to ensure that you remain at work (telework) between now and the end of the school year.  

 

This document will provide you with a brief overview of the new leaves of absence created by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), additional details are provided below along with weblinks and additional legal memos to help you understand which leave of absence is right for your situation. 

 

What type of leave am I eligible for?  

 

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April 9, 2020 Communication from PAT- re Survey on Distance Learning

Message sent to our membership on April 9th, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator,

The announcement yesterday that we would not meet face-to-face with our colleagues and students for the rest of the year didn’t surprise us, and yet, we all shared in the collective grief. It is the right decision, for everyone’s health and safety. We know how hard everyone has been working, and we hate to trouble you with any more asks, but since distance learning is how we will finish the school year, we would really value your time in taking a short survey so we can better advocate for you and our students.

 

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April 8, 2020 Communication from PAT- re FAQ's for Subs

Message sent to our membership on April 8th, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator,

PAT has been providing weekly updates since the beginning of the PPS school closure. Each communication has included a combination of updates relevant to contract educators and to substitutes. Now that Governor Brown has announced the closure of Oregon public schools for the rest of the year, we will attempt to frequently update our website to serve as the repository of all recent PAT news. We have created a web page with all of our previously sent COVID-19-related communications, and we will continue to post any future communications on that page. At this time, we also want to ensure that our substitute teachers are not missing any communication emails, so we will be maintaining a summary of Substitute Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) on the PAT website, as well. The links for these two pages are http://www.pdxteachers.org/pat_news and http://www.pdxteachers.org/covid_19_updates.

 

Frequently Asked Questions for Substitutes (updated 4/7/2020)

Should I apply for unemployment benefits?

 

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Q&A and Updates for Substitutes During COVID-19 & OEA Relief Fund for Subs

Gains made on Unfair Labor Practice Complaint for PAT Subs, August 26, 2020

 

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April 7, 2020 COVID-19 Communication from PAT

Message sent to our membership on April 7th, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator, 

PAT and PPS have been working on defining a workday/learning day that prioritizes equity, physical health, and emotional well being, and flexibility for everyone involved. At the same time, we must meet state expectations so that we may continue to work and be paid during this difficult time. We believe the plan put forth by PPS in collaboration with us puts us on this path.  

This document of teacher work expectations is not the same as any contract modification, or a signed MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) that is a legally binding agreement signed by both PAT and the District, which delineates specific issues pertaining to our working conditions during this period. We have a meeting with PPS on Friday to discuss this. This sequence of events is not our first choice, but during these times everyone is doing the best they can.

We do feel comfortable moving forward with this plan, knowing that every day the plan may need to be changed. We also know that the most important thing is connecting with families and supporting immediate needs. You can apply for grants of $100 to assist families you serve with rent, food, bills, etc….

 

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April 2, 2020 COVID-19 Communication from PAT

Message sent to our membership on April 2nd, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator--

During this time of profound uncertainty and anxiety, Portland educators, like most others across the country, are dealing with a total upheaval of our lives. Since the shutdown of schools, educators have been juggling the task of caring for their own families, supporting children and elders at home, while desperately trying to figure out how best to serve our students.

As we navigate this new terrain, we continue to advocate with district leadership in PPS that the plan moving forward must center equity and students’ emotional needs, and must be responsive to the needs and realities that students, families and educators are facing in this crisis.

First and foremost, we must make sure that the path forward does not widen the inequities in our society that already put some of our students at a disadvantage.

 

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March 27th COVID-19 Communication from PAT on School Closures

Message sent to our membership on March 27, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator,

We know that uncertain times can leave us feeling anxious. We want you to know that we continue to work on your behalf during these times. 

We have been in regular communication with PPS to make sure we can complete the demands of the Governor's executive order, and give our students the best we can, with reasonable expectations from ourselves- knowing that our new “working conditions” vary greatly, as do our virtual proficiencies. As always, our primary concern is not only our students, but also your health and safety. 

To that end, we have insisted that any plans provide flexibility for educators, and opportunities for us to capitalize on our strengths while we grow some new skills. No one believes that online learning is an adequate substitution for what we do in our schools with our students. We also understand that we must figure out ways to connect with our students. We believe that the plan for the first week back, which gives educators an opportunity to familiarize themselves with online platforms, is an appropriate first step. 

To reiterate what PPS sent out earlier today, the expectation is that the first week back, beginning Monday, March 30, all PAT members who are able to, will work remotely, engaging in online learning and collaboration. The work expected will be flexible and at your own pace. 

 

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March 20th COVID-19 Spring Break Notice from PAT

Message sent to our membership on March 20, 2020 Download the PDF here

Dear Educator,

This is certainly not the “have a happy spring break” e-mail we imagined sending you, and yet, we really do want to encourage you to take a break.

When we come back from Spring Break, we will be figuring out what our new working conditions will be. We worked with PPS to develop a survey, which we encourage that you take. We know that we are all in different places in our technological abilities, as well as the amount of time and flexibility we have to work from home.

We have been clear with PPS that many of our educators have called, emailed, texted, and insisted that there are many ways we can continue to work in service to our students. We have encouraged PPS to seek volunteers, because we know there are a lot of you.

We also know that for many of you, working during this time presents many challenges: wifi access, caring for others, and lack of quiet work space. Our intent is to work with PPS to determine how we may all continue to work in a way that is reasonable.

Substitutes

 

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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.