Living Up to Our Agreements

The results from this year's TELL survey are now available online. Take a look at how Portland compares with the rest of the state, and how your school compares with the rest of the District (If your school is not listed that means fewer than 50 percent of the staff responded).

When I reviewed the numbers, two things stood out. First, educators across the District continue to struggle with excessive workload. It's hurting our students, who can't get the attention they deserve. And our practice is suffering, because there's not enough time to prepare, collaborate with colleagues, or pursue professional development.

Second, safety and discipline continue to be major issues in PPS. We're seeing everything from not having a clear discipline plan that's understood by both students and staff, to administrators who aren't consistently applying the existing rules.

As you know both issues -- particularly safety and discipline -- have been a major focus for PAT this year. Prompted in part by new state law SB553 that placed limits on suspensions and expulsions for elementary school students, we spent several months bargaining with the District over the safety and discipline section of our contract and the new Student Handbook. Members ratified the agreement we reached in March.

The good news is there's still time to fix things this school year, and even more importantly, to set things up for next year.

But we need your help to make sure the District lives up to our agreement.

For the safety of our students and our staff, the agreement between the District and PAT requires that the following things happen this year:

  • Putting a complete discipline plan in place, especially if you didn't start the year off with one;

  • Developing a list of available interventions in the school but outside of the classroom;
  • Establishing a rapid response team to resolve some of the toughest cases and help stabilize crisis situations;
  • Allocating an additional $300,000 for new positions this year, such as coaches that can help in high-needs schools;
  • Providing materials and specific supports for educators who've been physically attacked or harmed at work;
  • Establishing and training a School Climate Team;
  • Developing an action/implementation plan around school climate and discussing it with all staff;
  • Developing a process to identify school-wide expectations with students, teachers, and families within the PBIS framework;
  • Completing the initial components of the PBIS Culturally Responsive Tiered Fidelity Inventory with building staff;

If these things aren't happening, or you think they aren't moving fast enough, contact your building Rep to see what you can do together. This agreement is only as strong as we are organized. 

In Solidarity,

Gwen Sullivan