We have some progress in bargaining to report. PAT and PPS bargaining teams met on October 2nd and again on October 9th. (The October 2nd meeting can be viewed here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. The October 9th meeting can be viewed here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.) The result of those sessions are a number of agreements on working conditions.
The first set of agreements cover evaluations. Starting now:
- All goal setting is pushed back to November 1st, and the goals are to be SEL goals rather than academic goals.
- No educator is to be negatively rated or impacted if they are not able to achieve the SEL goal. No observation is to take place prior to November 1st.
- All probationary educators, regardless of their year in the probationary process, will follow the timelines for probationary 3 educators.
We finally agreed to form a committee to modify the existing educator rubric so that the rubric identifies and encourages proficient and distinguished practice, and which recognizes that educators need support rather than unsatisfactory ratings on an evaluation.
Last but not least, any educator on a Plan of Assistance (POA) that began prior to the COVID shutdown, or who was to be put on a POA, will have the plan restarted only after the PAT and PPS meet to agree which ones are appropriate to continue prior to full in-person education resuming.
In a major workload improvement for some PAT members, the two sides agreed to 1.0 FTE Technical Assistant professional educators for both School Psychologists and SLPs.
Although we did not reach agreement, your PAT team was able to make progress on fair working conditions for .5 FTE educators, and for terms related to providing services to students by Social Workers, Counselors, School Psychologists, Speech Language Pathologists, and QMHPs.
We meet again on October 16th to discuss part-time work conditions in addition to other PAT proposals.Continue reading
On Monday, September 28, your bargaining team met with PPS to try again to reach agreement on topics that directly impact PAT members’ work lives. The meeting can be viewed here (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).
We spent the entire session exchanging proposals dealing with the evaluation procedure during this CDL year.
On a positive note, we reached an agreement on language that directs evaluators to recognize that educators need support and assistance during CDL rather than evaluations designed to identify unsatisfactory performance.
In addition, PPS agreed that professional educators must receive notice that an administrator will conduct a drop-in observation either by receiving a communication prior to the class starting, or by having the administrator announce their presence when they enter the CDL class.
Finally, the two sides agreed that for any Plan of Assistance (POA) either planned or started prior to March 2020, the PAT and PPS HR would meet to determine whether or not the plan should remain on hold until we return to in-person instruction, or whether the plan can move forward.
The two sides could not reach agreement on the timeline for adjusting the current evaluation for CDL conditions, or on what could happen if the timeline isn’t met. If a committee of PAT members and PPS administrators cannot complete modifying the current evaluation tool by the end of October, PPS proposed that it could evaluate educators using the existing, unmodified tool.
As all of you know, the existing tool is designed for a traditional in-person educational model. Even the quickest review of that rubric makes clear that the descriptors for distinguished, proficient, developing, and unsatisfactory performance generally don’t apply to distance learning. Determining an employee’s career status using an evaluation tool that is specifically not suited to current conditions is simply wrong. PAT will not agree to any settlement that gives PPS that ability.
The agreements we reached were accomplished after almost eight hours of bargaining the same topic. Your team simply will not allow PPS to apply a “trust us” approach to any topic as significant as your evaluations.
The two sides meet again on Friday, October 2nd. We hope to make additional progress then.
In Solidarity,Continue reading
PAT and PPS bargained Wednesday, September 23rd from about 12:15 until 3:15; you may view the sessions here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Our discussion focused almost entirely on evaluations of professional educators during CDL.
Although there were some areas of agreement, the two sides were unable to reach agreement. PPS agreed with PAT that educators primarily need support during CDL, but they asserted that the District must retain the right to non-extend or non-renew an educator based on distance learning evaluations. Astoundingly, they recognize that no one in the district, including administrators, is fully experienced in distance online learning, and yet the PPS bargaining team insisted on having the ability to remove a teacher from teaching because of unsatisfactory performance teaching students during CDL.
The right and requirement to evaluate educators is part of Oregon state law, but the moments of a tone deaf approach by the PPS district-administrators was surprising.
The two teams agreed in concept to form a committee whose responsibility is to modify the existing evaluation rubric so that it is applicable to distance learning. The committee will have equal numbers of PAT-appointed members and District management, and the District wants the committee to complete its task by October 26th. According to the District, if the committee can’t complete the job by the 26th, PPS administrators will be able to evaluate educators using the existing rubric. The District is adamant about this even though they have admitted that the rubric is unsuited to current teaching and learning conditions. Your PAT team totally rejects that position and will continue to fight to achieve humane and sensible evaluation language.
Until we have a complete agreement on the topic, PAT professional educators may have administrators do drop-in observations, but no educator should have a formal observation conducted.
Your PAT team meets with the District again on September 28th from noon until 4 to continue negotiations.
Once again, your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS to continue negotiations on the MOA for working conditions and common understandings under CDL. You may view the session from yesterday (September 17) here to get the full discussion that took place: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4
Today’s negotiations lead to two major agreements. PAT and PPS agreed to language for DLI educators regarding compensation for translating student materials for instruction, as well as language for additional compensation for PAT members who have to process the backlog of IEPs and evaluations resulting from the COVID-19 shutdown between March and August.
Based on our agreement, all DLI teachers will receive compensation of up to five hours per week for time spent translating student core content materials when the district fails to provide those materials one week prior to the date they will be presented to students. PAT and PPS hope and believe that there will be a limited number of times that DLI teachers will have to utilize the new language because PPS has expanded the number of outside translation services producing the materials. Still, the District finally has recognized that DLI educators have workload issues unlike the rest of their PAT colleagues.
For Special Education and related service educators, PAT was successful in getting an agreement that grants educators 2 hours of compensation for paperwork related to each IEP or evaluation postponed due to the COVID-19 shutdown. The two hours per IEP/evaluation is in addition to language in the current CBA for time to write IEPs. Like the DLI agreement, the District made significant movement when it recognized the enormous workload that the backlog of IEPs and evaluations presented.
Finally, there were positive discussions regarding securing educator-directed time for all part-time PAT members, as well as a common understanding of what are appropriate activities for educators in PLCs.
We will meet with PPS again on September 23rd.Continue reading
The PAT Bargaining Team met with the PPS team yesterday (Wednesday, September 9). We know many of you were unable to watch the session because you were engaged in teaching, but you may view it here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
There is good news from today’s bargaining. We have finally agreed to terms regarding the workday, particularly what has to be part of the educator’s flexible time. PAT and PPS agreed that:
- The stipulations are for all professional educators; there are no separate terms for “specials” or particular job descriptions.
- The schedule must meet statutory requirements for instruction time, and for educator-facilitated instructional time in compliance with the ODE’s guidance set forth in Ready Schools, Safe Learners of August, 2020.
- All professional educators will receive an average of no less than three hours and ten minutes per day, or at least 950 minutes per week, of educator-directed time over the course of a full school week of time that shall include the following:
- Educator-directed planning time;
- Educator-directed time to communicate with students and families;
- Educator-directed time to provide actionable feedback to students;
- Educator-directed time to assess student performance, and gather, track, and enter data.
Key to all educators is that both teams agreed that “educator-directed time” is flexible time - - educators are required to do the activities, but educators may conduct them when they are able. This means that if an individual educator needs to take time to care for their child/children or to provide elder care, they may flex the time.
We also agreed that times in the day where the District has indicated options such as student “support/ office hours,” or “small group instruction/ asynchronous learning/ office hours,” etc. are times where the educator (not the administrator) decides what happens when, and that office hours don’t count as part of the educator-directed time or educator planning time.
Both sides continue to work to find a solution to addressing DLI and Special Education workload, part-time educator workload, and what may be required of educators in PLC meetings this year.
We will meet with PPS in a small-group discussion (4 on 4) on Friday the 11th and again in full-team sessions on Thursday the 17th.
Your PAT Bargaining Team-
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Dear PAT Colleagues:
Today, the PPS bargaining team refused to put in writing their verbal agreement that educators should get an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes per day of teacher-directed time for planning, communicating with students and families, and providing meaningful feedback to student work. Instead, the District proposed that we all trust that principals at every school will give all educators the time they need based on the proposed sample schedules provided in bargaining.
While PPS management insisted that their schedules were clear, we repeatedly reminded them that principals were mis-interpreting Shawn Bird’s directives. As it stands, educators are being forced to educate their administrators about how to interpret work schedules, which is not appropriate. We know that yellow highlighting on a few example schedules is not sufficient protection for educator workload. To see our precise proposal on the workday, see #6 under Section II of our current MOA.
In addition, we still have differences around DLI workload and Special Education Educator workload. While PPS conceded that there is an overwhelming amount of backlogged work, and in response offered to allow all Special Education educators 8 hours to perform “catch up work” without prior approval. However, PPS would not guarantee that Special Education educators would qualify for additional payment, even if they can demonstrate that they have a legitimate backlog which exceeds the hours in Article 6.5.4. When we voiced serious concerns with this, management said this was a cost savings measure and they claimed that not all Special Education educators had the same backlog.
PPS would not agree to pay for DLI educators to translate even core related materials when those materials are not provided by the District. We were again asked to trust that the District will develop the curriculum needed for all DLI educators. Amazingly, they seem content to force DLI instructors to create the curriculum that should be provided by the District, without additional pay, apparently because they are concerned that it might be too costly to compensate DLI educators for the work required to do their jobs.
We also proposed that part-time educators should have educator-directed time that is proportional to that of full-time educators. Again, while this sounds like mere logic, the District would not agree.
Here is what PPS has agreed to:
- All educators have access to their buildings during comprehensive distance learning.
- No educator can be required to report to a building to do their work.
- Educator-directed time can be flexed so that PAT members could take care of their family members or demands of homelife.
Despite these areas of agreement, the District’s unwillingness to commit to a firm number of minutes per week of planning time is leaving us frustrated that, as the school year starts for educators, they have not taken seriously our shared interest in an enforceable agreement upon which schedules can be built.
The District would not commit to another official meeting until September 9th; however, we hope to push the District to move toward agreement in the interim.
Your PAT Bargaining Team-
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Dear PAT Colleagues,
Your PAT Team met with PPS again yesterday (Friday, August 21) from 9am - 1pm, and we are happy to report that we have common understandings that will become signed Tentative Agreements (TAs) regarding the amount of educator-directed time in a workday. The proposed schedules allow for a greater amount of flexibility in the schedule so that PAT educators can care for their families. Additionally, educators will be allowed to work from their classrooms at school to ensure adequate access to the internet and materials; however, no member will be required to work on-site.
In terms of the amount of educator-directed time, professional educators will have approximately three hours and 15 minutes a day to plan lessons, assess student work and provide feedback, and support and connect with families and students. Although the amount of time varies on some days, and varies from elementary to secondary settings, the three hour and 15 minute average is very close to our original proposal of three hours and thirty minutes, and far exceeds the original district proposal.
Of equal importance is the agreement that when an educator has scheduled “educator-directed time” the educator may flex that schedule so that they can address their family’s needs. Having this flexibility should go a long way to making teaching under a Comprehensive Distance Learning Model possible for the approximately 42 percent of PAT membership who have children at home. It also recognizes that many students and families will likewise require flexibility to be successful under distance learning.
Finally, we agreed to exchange proposals on what should be part of PLCs (regardless of grade level) so that the time spent in those meetings becomes as meaningful as possible.
The subjects of support for DLI and Special Education educators is still being discussed. The two teams agreed to exchange counter proposals prior to our next negotiation session on August 27th.
- Both sides plan to coordinate between now and our next negotiation session on August 27 to sign Tentative Agreements (TAs) on the issues that we agreed to yesterday pertaining to the workday and educator directed time.
- After that, PPS can move forward with building schedules, which must comply with these workday agreements.
- The bargaining team will continue meeting to come to agreement on the rest of the proposals, including Professional Development, Special Education, and Supports for families and students.
Dear PAT Colleagues,
Today, your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS once again. We began by reasserting that specific safety and equity language are essential to any agreement on returning to school, to which the District maintained the position that they believe that discussing these matters with PAT is largely a waste of time. After this unfortunate opening of the session, we remained hopeful that we would find common ground with the District on several important return to work clauses from our proposal, where we envisioned tentatively agreeing to several items.
However, our efforts were thwarted, when management came to negotiations asserting their right to dictate the work week schedule without genuinely consulting professional educators in general education, SpEd educators, teacher librarians, and other “specials.” As it stands today, the amount of planning time being proposed by the district is essentially the same amount of time as professional educators had between March and June of last school year. As virtually all of you know from personal experience, that is not enough time to address student needs or educator workload. We continue to push District leaders to understand how their scheduling models will negatively impact the planning and preparation necessary for educators to effectively connect with and support students in a Distance Learning environment.
With regard to Special Education, our educators remain disheartened by the overwhelming backlog of evaluations that they must complete, in addition to the crushing workload they will encounter when we return to school this fall. The District did make a proposal that was intended to address the workload created by the backlog, but their proposal of three evaluation teams is insufficient to address the backlog in a timely fashion. With only three evaluation teams, it would take until at least December to get through the backlog. Evaluating special needs students is time sensitive and is not something that can wait until winter break.
It is crucial that we get to an agreement about our workday by Friday. Stay tuned for next steps if that does not happen.
Dear PAT Colleagues,
Today, your PAT Bargaining team met with the District again to negotiate an agreement on a safe and equitable return to school. If you missed it live, the full session (Part 1 and Part 2) is viewable online.
We started by discussing the district’s concepts for the educator work day and the student day. The district presented schedules for Elementary, Middle, and High School to discuss. The PAT team is holding tight to our requirement that at least half the educator work day be dedicated to teacher-directed time for planning, contacting families, and supporting students. While the district’s concept for the elementary schedule came much closer to what PAT is asking for, it was not clear that the high school or middle school schedules would provide enough teacher-directed planning and communication time to allow educators to meet the demands of on-line learning.
We recognize that the district is obliged to follow ODE Guidelines on instruction time for students under distance learning (see ODE Guidelines and sample schedules for grades K-5 and 6-12). We believe that it is possible to do so while preserving educator planning time, and without asking children to be in front of a screen for most of the day.
The district shared the PPS counterproposal to the PAT proposal from last week. The PPS counterproposal stripped all the language that PAT proposed on equity and support to students and families. In spite of the difficulties Portland families face during the epidemic, PPS doesContinue reading
Today, your PAT Bargaining Team met with the District in our 3rd bargaining session to negotiate an agreement on a safe and equitable return to school. Thank you to the 100+ members who tuned in live to watch. If you missed it, the full session is viewable online.
During today’s bargain, we presented the District with a comprehensive “Re-opening School Proposal,” which included elements of the workday for professional educators in general education, Special Education & related student services, and Dual Language Instruction. In addition, PAT specifically identified and proposed supports for PPS families, including child care needs while schools remain closed so that no student in the district is excluded from the educational experience. We also proposed that the District provide high quality training and live tech support for parents (in families’ home languages) once distance learning begins.
The District made a presentation that included some partially developed schedules for high school and middle school, as well as an outline of a student day for elementary school. Unfortunately, the amount of time in the day for planning, assessment of student work, data tracking/grade entry, and family/student contact was significantly less than what PAT has proposed. Our goal remains the creation of a meaningful educational experience for students and sustainable educator workload and workday.
Our next bargaining session will be Monday, August 10th from 1:00 to 5:00pm. We will live-stream the session again-- please tune in!
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Portland Association of Teachers