OEA Webinar, March 29th: Public Service Loan Forgiveness-- A Benefit for OEA Members

For years, NEA members have advocated together in favor of canceling college debt to help fix the educator shortage. Now, student loans taken out by millions of borrowers are being substantially reduced, forgiven, or even canceled outright due to recent changes in loan forgiveness programs.

However, the fight is not over, and NEA remains committed to helping you take advantage of these opportunities. Join OEA to learn more about how recent changes may impact your student debt, and resources available through your NEA Member Benefits to help you navigate the system.

Register today to reserve your place. Click the image to see our flier.

Date and Time: Wednesday, March 29 from 4:30-6:00 p.m.
: Members $0, free as a benefit of membership. This is a members-only event.


SpEd Week of Action 2022

The PAT Week of Action for Special Education kicked-off today. If you are a PAT member and Special Educator, you will be receiving buttons from one of your building reps today. Please wear both buttons and encourage your colleagues to wear a sticker in solidarity throughout the week.

PAT plans to cap the week off with a march on the Special Education department at the District office this Friday, October 28th at 4:30 PM to present a group or class action grievance for all PAT Special Education members that have suffered a loss of planning time or their 30-minute duty free lunch time in the past 30 days.

We are collecting data pertaining to educator and student safety stemming from a lack of staffing and appropriate student placements in Special Education. Please complete this form now and answer all questions based on your experience in the 2022-2023 school year. Your comments will not be shared outside of PAT advocacy with your name or e-mail, unless you indicate you would like to be named as a grievant when we present this data to the District to support the grievance.

OEA Promising Practice Grants 2022-2023


Every year, OEA gives Promising Practice Grants to educators to support student learning and professional development for OEA members across Oregon. This year, there is $2,000 available for grants to PAT members. Members may apply for grant funds up to $1,000.

Grants can be used to fund projects or materials that support improved student achievement. The application is fully online this year and available here

Some examples of past projects funded by the Promising Practice Grant are:

  • A library of books with QR codes attached that link to a video of the book being read in ASL for families of students who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Supporting Latinx students through a MECHA conference.
  • Books for classroom libraries featuring main characters who are People of Color so that students see themselves in literature.


  • November 4, 2022 - Applications due. No late applications will be accepted.
  • Mid-November 2022 - PAT IPD Committee will review grant applications from our Council members.
  • December 12, 2022 - Final decisions communicated to applicants.
  • December 13 - 17, 2022 - Grants for those awarded will be processed and distributed by OEA.
  • June 30, 2023 - Final grant summary due to OEA Center for Great Public Schools.


In the event that, among qualifying grant applications, there are more funds requested than are available, IPD Committee will prioritize grant requests that fulfill the following criteria:

  • Grant applicant is a first time applicant
  • Project or idea which serves a historically underserved population
  • Project or idea which serve large numbers of students
  • Grant applicant is an early-career educator

Teaching Against Climate Despair: A Climate Justice Teach-In

Teaching Against Climate Despair: A Climate Justice Teach-In

Monday, May 23, 2022

4:00 pm – 5:30 pm, Virtual. 

Hosted by the Portland Public Schools Energy & Sustainability Team, co-sponsored by the PPS Climate Justice Committee and the Portland Association of Teachers


Join us online as teachers from around Portland share how they creatively incorporate climate justice topics into their classrooms, from art and activism to Indigenous knowledge to the science and economics of a green future.

Let’s share how we equip our students to recognize the breadth of the climate emergency, to probe its social and economic causes, and to come to see themselves as activists for a just society and a stable climate. 

Panelists include:

Erika Alabarca, Roseway Heights Middle School — Erika is a 7th-grade social studies teacher at Roseway Heights, where she helps organize an after-school ECO club, and incorporates soil regeneration into her classes. She is an active member of the PPS Climate Justice Committee. 

Christina Aucutt, Grant High School — Christina teaches the Climate Justice elective at Grant High School, where she brings speakers from across Portland to tie climate justice education to real world issues and grassroots initiatives. 

Caitlin Blood, MITCH Charter School — Caitlin is a former farmer and agricultural advisor. She is the Director of Sustainability at MITCH Charter School, where she works to root classroom content in an agricultural framework. Her students explore math, language arts, science, and history through hands-on agricultural observation and practice.

Treothe Bullock, McDaniel High School — “Tre” teaches Climate Justice and Chemistry at McDaniel and is an active member of the PPS Climate Justice Committee. 

Joe Ferguson, Alliance High School — Joe is the Natural Resources, Science, and Instructional Facilitator at Alliance. He incorporates climate science and sustainability lessons into his classrooms, setting up wildlife cameras at Whitaker Ponds and partnering with Community Cycling Center for bike mechanic lessons. 

Rachel Hanes, Glencoe Elementary — Rachel is a 2nd-grade teacher, member of the PPS Climate Justice Committee, and active in the Portland Association of Teachers. Her teaching aims to connect students’ lives to climate issues, such as oil pipelines and forests. 

Jesse Hunter, Woodstock Elementary — Jesse is a 2nd-grade teacher at Woodstock School in Southeast Portland. He has led efforts to establish school gardens and garden education programs at Lent Elementary and Woodstock.

Suzie Kassouf, Grant High School — Suzie has a deep background in grassroots climate justice organizing. At Grant High School, she has focused on turning her classroom into a place for connection, community, justice, and love.  

Cat Phung, Growing Gardens — Cat is the North Portland Youth Grow Educator and Community Organizer for Growing Gardens. She is a first-generation Vietnamese American, gardener and cook, with a background in environmental science and outreach. 

Gerald Scrutchions, Grant High School — “Scutch” teaches Human Rights and Environmental Justice at Grant. He has been a mentor, educator, and advocate for many of the student climate activists from Tubman Middle School protesting the I-5 freeway expansion.

Tim Swinehart, Lincoln High School — Tim teaches environmental justice and is a member of the PPS Climate Justice Committee. He works with district staff to devise and implement policies to spread climate justice education across Portland Public Schools.

May 5 and 11, Upcoming Webinar: Instructional Strategies and Accommodations for Students with ASD

Fellow PAT member and educator Vicki Silenzi is leading an OEA webinar on Instructional Strategies and Accommodations for Students with ASD

In this one-hour webinar, participants will review impacts of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). You will learn to recognize ableism and ableist language while maintaining a strengths-based approach to meeting student needs. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) strategies and individual accommodations will be presented. Career educators will share their 20+ years of experience with a focus on viewpoints and preferences of students on the spectrum and their families. Closed captions provided and 1 PDU available for attending.

There will be two opportunities to take part in this webinar, Thursday, May 5th at 4:00 PM and Wednesday, May 11th at 4:00 PM. Find more details and register here.

We hope to see you there.

Deadline Approaching! Apply Today for the Racial Justice Institute Fellowship

We wanted to pass on to Educators of Color the following opportunity to apply for the Racial Justice Institute Fellowship. See their flyer.

In the summer of 2019, the Educator Advancement Council piloted several sessions for culturally and linguistically diverse educators. That pilot helped craft the framework for the launch of the Educator Advancement Council's Racial Justice Institute.

The Racial Justice Institute (RJI) - taking place between January 2022 and June 2023 - is created to support and achieve culturally and racially affirming environments for educators serving Oregon’s Pre-K to 12 School Systems. This includes developing and facilitating a collaborative, educational environment for racially, ethnically, or linguistically diverse educators and that provides leadership to support culturally and sustaining pedagogical approaches and racial justice in school communities. There are two parts to the RJI: A Fellowship and the Network.

The RJI Network includes regular facilitated virtual learning sessions that will include learnings from the fields, opportunities for personal story sharing, and connecting with other educators who identify as culturally and linguistically diverse across the state who are also impacted by inequities. Sessions will include keynote speakers from a national network of leaders on topics which will be shown on this calendar page.

The RJI Fellowship will support 30 culturally and linguistically diverse participants to engage in racial justice learning, leadership, and project development in school communities (application linked here). Fellows will participate in collaborative, place-based projects to create more racially affirming educational spaces across the Pre-K to 12 school system.  They will have monthly, day-long virtual sessions with inspirational leaders, educators, healers, and social movement change makers to learn from in community with the group of 30 fellows from across the state of Oregon.  Fellows will be provided with a $20,000 stipend and funds to cover substitute teacher cost.

  • What is the Fellowship timeline?  January 2022 - June 2023
  • When are the Fellowship virtual sessions?  The first session will be on January 26, 2022 from 9am- 12pm. Because of substitute teacher shortages, we have scheduled sessions two and three on Saturdays (Feb 19 and Mar 12).  To best meet fellows needs, all subsequent monthly sessions will be determined by consensus with the Fellows.
  • Who can apply to the Fellowship? Racially, ethnically, or linguistically diverse educators across the Pre-K to 12 school system in Oregon should apply and their experiences and safety will be centered. 
  • How do applicants apply? In an effort to make the process as easy as possible, applicants need only submit an application form by January 10, 2022 at midnight. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and fellows will be accepted on a rolling basis. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible in order to increase your chances of acceptance.

For more information please contact Jonah Canner at [email protected]. Finally, click here to read our FAQs, where you will also find the Fellowship Goals & Program Components and the Arcs of Learning.

Yours in Education,

Shadiin Garcia, Racial Justice Facilitator & Jonah Canner, IDEA Racial Justice Institute Coordinator

Upcoming Listening Sessions on Workload with School Board Members

Dear Educator,

Last night at the PPS School Board Meeting, I shared with the board our recent survey data, illustrating how overwhelmed and strained educators are feeling this year. You can watch the presentation here beginning at about minute 50:00.

The survey results are alarming, and demonstrate that educators are experiencing extraordinary stress and overwork, and many educators are considering options to leave the profession they love.  

In order for our school system to continue serving our students this year, we need to retain the educators we have. We are advocating for meaningful workload relief to be implemented immediately. 

PAT is organizing listening sessions with our PPS School Board members, so they can hear directly from you.  We are planning to hold 3 listening sessions, and invite all PAT members to sign up to speak or to attend to listen: 

  • Monday, November 1, 5-6 pm
  • Thursday, November 4, 5-6 pm
  • Monday, November 8, 5-6 pm

Please come share your thoughts on the following questions:

  • What examples from your personal experiences best illustrate the demands on educators this school year? 
  • What immediate solutions could we implement to make this year manageable?
  • What long-term solutions can we work toward together to make sure a career as an educator can be fulfilling and sustainable?

Comments will be limited to 3 minutes or less, to allow many voices to be heard.  

Please use this form to sign up to speak or listen at any of the sessions. After you sign up, we will send you a Zoom link. If you are not able to attend, you can use the same form to submit a written comment. 

Speakers will be limited based on time, and chosen on a first come, first served basis, while also ensuring that educators from many different grade levels and roles have an opportunity to be heard.

This is NOT an official PPS School Board meeting. We are inviting all board members to attend, and expect between 1 and 3 board members to be at each session.

Thank you for sharing your concerns, ideas, and vision for how to make our school system sustaining for students and staff. 


In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

President, Portland Association of Teachers


OEA Fall Conference: Register Today

You are invited to join colleagues from around the state at the OEA Fall Conference. The conference, happening over October 16th, 19th, and 21st will offer online courses to build strategy around bargaining, organizing, and advocating. All sessions will be held virtually.

Register today

Read more below about the session you can sign up for.

Saturday, October 16 - 9:00-10:30AM

Bridging the Political Divide: Recruiting and Retaining Members Across the Political Spectrum 
with Rylee Ahnen, OEA Communications

Responding to Hate and Bias at School: Extended Session
with OEA member and social studies teacher Patrick Griffin, student Jessica Acee, and Rose I. Wilde of Lane ESD and "Showing Up for Racial Justice" Springfield-Eugene Leadership Team

Saturday, October 16 - 11:30AM-1:00PM

Bargaining for Equity 
with PAT President Elizabeth Thiel & OEA Consultant Lesly Munoz

Responding to Hate and Bias at School: Extended Session
with OEA member and social studies teacher Patrick Griffin, student Jessica Acee, and Rose I. Wilde of Lane ESD and "Showing Up for Racial Justice" Springfield-Eugene Leadership Team

Tuesday, October 19 - 5:00-6:00PM

Preparing Now for Spring Bargaining 
with Robert Young, OEA Bargaining Coordinator

Collaborative Problem Solving: Getting to Yes! 
with Klamath City EA President Maureen Lundy & OEA Consultant Bob Gray

Responding to Public Attacks on OEA Members Implementing Social Justice Standards 
with Teresa Ferrer, OEA Equity Coordinator

Understanding Implicit Bias 
with Lindsay Ray, Beaverton EA Vice President

Gender Savvy: Creating an Inclusive School Climate
with Basic Rights Oregon

Thursday, October 21 - 5:00-6:00PM

Bargaining Strategies for Disrupted Learning
with Robert Young, OEA Bargaining Coordinator

Advocating for Licensed Members with Performance Issues
with OEA Consultants Allison Orton and Bob Gray

Responding to Hate and Bias at School 
with OEA member and social studies teacher Patrick Griffin, student Jessica Acee, and Rose I. Wilde of Lane ES

Register today. Download the event flier for more details on all the courses offered over these three days.