Message sent to our membership on April 7th, 2020 Download the PDF here
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….
PPS has made it very clear that they want to support employees in being able to complete the work expectations. This means that everything should be flexible-- if you can’t make a scheduled meeting like a staff meeting or PLC, it should be recorded so you can watch it. For those of you required to do office hours, you can choose your own hours. If you are having trouble with the work expectations, talk to your supervisor. If that doesn’t help, contact us.
You may still have questions like: what if I’m sick, or need to miss a day? We are working with PPS to figure out as much as we can, but because the week is flexible, if you need to miss a day or two, you should be able to “make it up” later. At this point in time, there is no plan to utilize substitute teachers. If you are a substitute teacher, or curious about what we worked out for our guest teachers, we will post an update on the PAT website and send a separate email soon.
This is hard-- it’s hard for us, our students, our families. It’s hard for PPS too, and things keep changing. Schools have not been closed for the rest of the school year-- yet. The ramifications of the crisis we are all in continue to unfold. Take a moment to be grateful that we are still employed and unionized-- even if it’s now as an “HD-PPS PAT Educator”. Prioritize your students who need the most. For some, it may not be a student who normally needed extra support. As we learn more about each family's situation, we discover needs. We don’t have to be great at online teaching and learning. It’s not a direction we will be permanently moving towards. But, we can be great community builders, and crucial supports for our students.
Our careers are filled with stories of “the teacher” that made a difference in a student’s life. We tell our stories of the educator that made a difference in our lives. We sometimes have the privilege of hearing something like that from our students. Sometimes we wonder and hope. We are in a unique situation where all our students are in need of extra support, and we are all positioned to be that person who makes a difference in so many lives. This work isn’t new to us. And this is the work we can excel at during a crisis.
Portland Association of Teachers