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).

 

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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.

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.


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.

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. 
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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.