President's Message

Dear Educators,

2020 is drawing to a close, but this year has marked our lives forever. 

It was almost a year ago that we began hearing the first news of a dangerous new virus. And Friday, March 13th was the last time we saw our students face-to-face in our classrooms. 

Over the past nine months we have re-invented our practices and built new ways to engage our students and families— all during a national reckoning on race and while grieving the loss of over 275,000 beloved community members across the country.

Throughout all this, our union has relentlessly worked to support our members, to center educator voice in decision-making, and to advocate for a more just and equitable school system and society. 

And your passion and commitment to our common goals is clear. Despite the obstacles that social-distancing has presented, we have record participation in our Rep Assemblies, committee meetings, and member-led projects.

This winter break has never been more needed or more deserved. Please take time to refresh and recharge, and celebrate the coming of a new year.

There is much work ahead as we navigate an intensifying pandemic, prepare for our eventual re-entry to our classrooms, and attempt to leverage this moment to address the systemic inequities in our schools and communities laid bare by this crisis. 

And in the closing weeks of 2020, I know you’ll make the most of current opportunities to support your students and colleagues, lend your perspective to decision-makers at ODE, and get more involved with our union. 

Your vision, wisdom, and commitment— in solidarity with students, communities, and workers fighting for the same values— are the force that will make 2021 a year of needed change.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

PAT Office and Advocacy Cadre Closed for the Holidays

Currently, the PAT Advocacy Cadre meets with building representatives and members every Monday night from 5:00-6:30 p.m. to help members with their contract questions. This year, the Cadre Zoom drop in hours will be closed from December 21st and will reopen on Monday, January 4th. We encourage all building representatives to come to the Cadre Zoom hours to discuss issues in your buildings and get support on enforcing our contract in our schools.

The PAT office will also be closed from December 21st through January 1st. PAT staff will return January 4th.

ODE/OEA Forum: Oregon Ethnic Studies Standards

In the summer of 2020, thousands of people signed a petition to require the teaching of the racial history of Oregon. At the same time, the Oregon Department of Education was completing work on a set of ethnic studies standards. Oregon is now on track to be the first state to require the teaching of Ethnic Studies Standards for all students K-12. These standards are targeted for adoption in the 2021-2022 school year. 

Join OEA members and the public from all around the state to get an informed preview of the new Oregon Ethnic Studies Standards in one of the upcoming forums taking place in the next couple of months. We need your feedback to make these standards as powerful, relevant, and doable as possible! These forums will also provide an opportunity to gather in grade level or constituency groups to provide more robust feedback. It is recommended that all participants take a glance at the standards ahead of time if you can. Choose among the following dates: 

  • December 10, 2020
  • January 6, 2021
  • January 11, 2021

Register now to hold your spot. Take an advanced peek at the standards.

 

Reminder: Nominations for PAT and OEA Elections are Open

PAT is a democratic organization, and our leaders are elected by you and all our members. Our elections are held via electronic ballot in February. This year there are open positions for the following: 

  • PAT Executive Board Director-at-Large (4 seats)
  • OEA RA Delegate (approximately 30 seats) Nominate yourself here
  • NEA RA Delegate (approximately 26 seats, 9 of which are funded to travel)

Any PAT member in good standing may run for elected position. Nominations for these positions are now open, and will close in January. Learn more, and find online nomination forms on our website. Contact PATpresident@oregoned.org with any questions about these positions.

Overage Payments

Overage Payments for First Semester

Article 8 in the 2019-2020 PAT Agreement has language that defines workload “thresholds” for class-size, teaching load, caseload, and the number of unique course preparations. PPS is required by this contract language to pay educators whose workload exceeds those thresholds that were reviewed and calculated by PPS between October 19, 2020 and November 2, 2020.

Staff receiving stipends should have received a separate check on the November payday. The type of stipend will be reflected on the check as “Class Overload Stipend” and “Over 3 Prep Stipend.”

Overage pay for the second semester will be calculated on Monday, February 15, 2021. 

If you did not receive the pay you anticipated, please submit those questions and any documentation to PPS immediately and a PPS HR representative will review your information and respond about whether or not they will make any corrections. 

Overage for Educators working under a “4x4” Schedule in High Schools

With respect to overage payment for educators that work in high schools doing a temporary 4x4 schedule under Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL), we have major disagreements with the District’s implementation of our contract language. 

PPS believes that the CBA is clear, and that the language directly states that the payments are based on numbers per-semester. Since it is 160 for semester 1, and 160 for semester 2, PPS believes that they don’t have to pay any overage.

PAT believes that the overages numbers in the contract are directly linked to year-long courses.  Since that is the case, and since the District converted year-long cases to semester-long courses, we believe the 160 number for HS overage must be reduced to 80.  

It is our belief that high school educators working under a 4x4 schedule were not paid the proper overage payments based on a prorated 80-student threshold. PAT already has an “overage” grievance filed last year regarding prorating student overage numbers by the number of courses an educator teaches. That grievance is currently in settlement talks with state mediators scheduled to join the discussion in January. Depending on the outcome of those talks, PAT will apply the new understanding to this year’s 4x4 schedule, or PAT will file a new grievance to correct this violation.

Professional Learning Communities Under CDL

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

Through negotiations pertaining to 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.  

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.  

Finally, remember that each educator has 950 minutes of individual educator-directed time. PLC meetings do not count as individual teacher time. Check to make sure your building is in compliance, and if not, talk to your principal about changing the schedule, and have your building rep contact the PAT office.  

You can see the TA’d agreement language on our website.

Solidarity with Oregon Nurses- Join ONA Nurses’ Info Picket at OHSU

December 17th starting at noon @ OHSU Hospital

Nurses are on the frontlines of the global pandemic, taking care of people with COVID. ONA nurses are currently advocating for COVID safety protections, including a review of personal protective equipment, worker-voice in safety decisions, and paid leave after high-risk exposures. 

ONA/AURN represents 2,800 nurses throughout OHSU. Nurse union leaders bring the patients' voice to hospital administration by advocating for high standards like contact tracing/testing, safe quarantine, staffing to acuity, and reasonable compensation for their ongoing sacrifice. Currently, OHSU is refusing to commit to essential COVID safety protections. OHSU has over a billion dollars in savings and is the most profitable hospital in the state. Nurses are picketing the hospital for their own, as well as their patients’ and our community’s, safety!

If your schedule permits, please join nurses, labor leaders, and legislators to stand with OHSU nurses, Thursday, December 17th at 12:00 pm. ONA is committed to social distancing, mask wearing, and will provide hand sanitizer.

You can learn more about what OHSU nurses are fighting for, and RSVP here.

Watch “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” A Broadcast Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., Monday, January 18, 2021

PAT is a proud sponsor of the 36th annual Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JrGreat American Hero and World Citizen, presented by World Arts Foundation Inc. 

This retrospective of Dr. King's legacy will be highlighted with dances, songs, and speeches. It will also spotlight those in our local, national, and global communities and leaders continuing his work. 

Please join us on January 18th, 2021 from 12:00pm-5:00pm for this broadcast.

Responding to the impact of COVID-19, this virtual production has been expanded to multiple platforms and will be available on: www.worldartsfoundation.org, Open Signal, KBOO 90.7 FM, XRAY 107.7 FM, YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

Please see the event's press release and flyer for more information.

Instruction and Professional Development Committee: CDL Survey Update

Based on some helpful feedback on our survey data collection methods, we are rethinking how we are conducting it. To avoid self selection bias, we will be choosing random PAT members and asking these people to complete the (very short) survey once a month. However, in order to assure that we are hearing from a truly representative sample, we will first establish categories (such as K - 5, CTE, or Learning Center) and then choose a random group from there. If you are selected, you will receive an email with more explanation.

But because we know that many of you have important things to say, we will continue to send out a separate survey to our general membership. This survey will be exactly the same but will be linked to a different form/spreadsheet.

Supporting Our English Language Learners

We have heard serious concerns from ELL educators about exiting students from services since the physical closure of schools. Since the spring, our ELL students have been unable to take the English Proficiency Assessment (ELPA), which under ODE rules, is the only way students are able to move to the next level or exit out.

This has huge repercussions for students and educators. As an example, one educator reported having 43 students on their caseload who should have been exited. Instead, they were added to the new students that that educator has this year. As a result, their caseloads were off the charts and the students who were not able to exit were required to take an ESL class instead of Art, Band, Tech Ed, etc.

The ELPA testing window is January through March. It is our understanding that the Oregon Department of Education is recommending that educators should give the assessment to students in person and to socially distance, following the ODE’s guidance on “limited in-person instruction.” Our educators were clear that this is not possible or respectful of the students or their families. COVID infection rates are much higher in communities of color compared to their white counterparts. Why would the state even ask to put our students and educators in harm’s way?

At the recent PAT/PPS Instructional Program Council (IPC), the District agreed that this is very problematic. The District and PAT educators are forming a group to present a better solution to ODE that best meets our students’ needs. Stay tuned…