We want to thank the entire PAT membership for responding to the survey we sent to all of you last week. Your quick and thoughtful responses gave the team real guidance. In addition, your PAT team really felt the support from the collective actions that members have held in so many buildings. Thank you for taking action to fight for the needs of our students.
Today, PPS finally presented a formal proposal for professional educator and student relief. You can watch this in Part I.
For elementary schools, the District offered a kind of “A or B” proposal. Proposal A was dependent on TOSAs, Mentor teachers, COSAs, and QMHP’s covering classes for a few hours, once a month, for grade level teams at all elementary schools. To your PAT team, any proposal that overworks some members to give minimal relief to others is not acceptable. Proposal B was to have an early release, one day a month for three months, to create time for PLCs and planning.
Similarly, for middle and high school, the District proposed an altered schedule, one day a month for three months, to create a few hours of teacher planning time.
PPS doesn’t seem to understand that the gravity of its own data requires a set of significant interventions. Students and professional educators are truly struggling under the stress of this year, yet PPS feels that 44 additional planning minutes per month for high school educators, 36 additional planning minutes per month at middle schools and 50 minutes a month at elementary schools and K-8’s (for just three months) will somehow make things OK. The anemic response from PPS in the face of such critical problems is irresponsible and does nothing to help ensure stability in our schools or a quality education for our students.
In Part II of today’s bargain, your PAT team presented a more in-depth look at our proposals for a weekly Flex/Tutorial day at our high schools, and a weekly early-release at our elementary and middle schools, describing what they could look like for students and educators. We illustrated how, under our Flex/Tutorial day proposal, high school students who need extra support could get a full-day of in-person time with teachers, counselors, and other school staff, while educators could have a half-day to plan, collaborate, and communicate with parents.
At one point, Mr. Garcia challenged PAT on whether there is any connection between professional educator planning time and student success. To anyone who has ever worked in a classroom with students, this was a troubling moment of huge disconnect - we believe our students deserve an education that is both thoughtful and deliberate, not one that was pieced together with little to no time for an educator to account for the unique student needs in their classroom. It was particularly notable because PPS has acknowledged the need for additional time to meet student needs. Our proposals are designed to support students that are falling further behind with each day and who are experiencing unaddressed emotional and behavioral dysregulation. The District's proposals simply do not meet the critical needs of our most vulnerable students. We encourage you to watch the session.
One element that was positive is that PPS seems to actually want to discuss the issues you are all facing. We meet with the District again on December 16th and 17th and we hope to have a resolution on those two days.
As always, it is because of your support that we are able to collectively achieve improvements for educators and students. Thank you again for all you do for your colleagues and for Portland families and students.
Your PAT Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Angela Bonilla, Emy Markewitz, Charity Powell, Francisca Alvarez, Thea Keith