President's Message: Look for the Light

Hello Educators,

At the last board meeting, there were parents and educators who spoke to the issues in Special Education. They raised concerns about the push towards “Inclusion” for our students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). One spoke to her daughter's multiple suspensions during her kindergarten year until she was placed in a focus classroom where she began to thrive. 

These are the types of stories PPS is choosing to ignore when they push for inclusion without fully defining it for educators or families. We have yet to hear what that will look like or how we will staff and support it. When it was my turn to speak, I shared this concern and made it plain: It is surprising and inappropriate that PPS is already sending out a survey to parents with each IEP asking for their opinion on the concept of inclusion (check out the flyer here) without completing a bargain with us. 

As one parent who participated in the Southeast Guiding Coalition explained to PDXParents, “PPS’s decision to move on despite SEGC not reaching consensus was eye opening. ‘It basically told us what we had begun to suspect: On some level we were there so PPS could say that they had sought our input’”. Another stated, “In terms of the process, the district disregarded votes by the committee, dissenting voices among staff, and manipulated students and families to achieve their ends. I felt disenfranchised, disrespected, and like my time and my community’s time (had been) wasted.” PAT believes that there should not be decisions made about families without families, or about us without us. Please invite families at your N/NE Portland sites to our first of at least three Community Listening Sessions, at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, December 13th, where we will ask community members to share which of our bargaining priorities are priorities for them too. See the Flyer HERE

Solidarity Forever

"When the days are short and you haven't recovered from the exhaustion of late fall, look for the light." -Elena Aguilar, Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators

Bargaining is draining. Fighting for what we know our students and colleagues deserve can be heartbreaking. Educators at PPS and across the country are working more than ever to serve higher needs than ever. With so much on everyone’s plates, it can be hard to find the positive and express gratitude when you are overwhelmed, overworked, and under appreciated. One thing I’ve learned as an instructional coach is that we have to train our brains to “look for the light”. Meditation is hard for me to keep up, but I can build my practice of expressing gratitude. One free, small, doable step you can take is to notice the little things in your life. It can be really hard nowadays but we're in this together. That's one thing I'm grateful for.

Every day, at the end of the day, I would line my students up and say to them, "In case no one told you today, you're awesome and I love you." I realize now I was practicing gratitude daily every year I had my own classroom, and it has been missing in my life as I transitioned to a coaching role and now as PAT President.

So to all of you, the teachers and staff who let me do site visits, to those who speak up, who are doing their best to support others or to keep themselves afloat, who are protecting themselves by not reading any emails after work hours: In case no one told you today, you are awesome and I love you. Have a peaceful and safe break!

In Solidarity,

Angela Bonilla

PAT President

Know Your Contract: PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES

Family Conferences are one of the many tools we have to boost student success. It’s a chance for us to talk to families holistically about their child—including their curiosity, love of learning, and critical thinking skills.

These two days are long and exhausting, but they’re also filled with meaningful conversations, personal connections, and other opportunities to build community.

This year, conferences are scheduled right before Thanksgiving. Some families may not be able to attend due to travel. Our Superintendent made it clear that make-up conferences do not need to be scheduled when families can’t attend because of travel. Instead, they may want to schedule a video-conference, phone call, or email contact during the time period designated for conferences.

As educators, we try to be flexible, doing whatever it takes to meet with families, especially those whose work schedules or other obligations make it hard to meet during the designated conference time. Just remember, we don’t need to schedule make-up conferences because families are on vacation. You deserve to enjoy your holidays just as much as your students and their families.

Evening conferences shall last no longer than three (3) hours and conclude by 8:30pm. A duty-free lunch of at least thirty (30) continuous minutes and a dinner break of at least sixty (60) consecutive minutes shall be scheduled prior to evening conferences. (Article 6.7.2 and 7.7).

Bargaining Update

The PAT Bargaining Team had our third Bargaining Session with PPS on November 16th, 2022. Read our Bargaining Update HERE. Check out our initial proposal and presentation on how we envision student support, discipline, and safety could look in our schools.

We will also continue to livestream our bargaining sessions on our YouTube channel.

Stay tuned for updates ahead of the next bargaining session.

Run for a PAT Elected Position! (Eboard, OEA RA, & NEA RA)

Run for a PAT Elected Position! (Eboard, OEA RA, & NEA RA) 

PAT’s General Election is now open. The positions open for nominations include: 

Nominations CLOSE at 7:00pm on Wednesday, December 14, at the December Rep Assembly.

How to Nominate Yourself for a Position:

Learn more about the responsibilities of these positions here: Executive Board Director, Delegates to the OEA RA, Delegates to the NEA RA

PAT is a democratic organization, and our leaders are elected by you and all our members. Any PAT member in good standing may run for elected position. (But you can become a member HERE in order to run, and to vote, in the election.)

For more information, you can refer to the Nomination Letter to All Members and the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.

Committee Updates: Instruction & Professional Development (IPD) Committee

Every month the PAT Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) Committee chairs and PAT leadership bring issues and questions from teachers to PPS leadership in order to have collaborative discussions and address issues before they become bigger problems. 

Agenda items from October are below. More detailed information about each topic can be found here:

  • Instructional rounds and learning walks. We were assured that these are non-evaluative and not tied to any teacher. If you are experiencing pseudo-evaluative situations around this, let us know! 
  • Cadres including flexibility around working from home.
  • Another request for full TNTP and NTP reports that were used to inform the direction of the Office of Teaching and learning. 
  • Staffing for ESL
  • Peer Mentoring for Educators of Color
  • Math Whole Grade Acceleration
  • SPED Staffing
  • Report Card Check-in
  • New adoptions and academic freedom
  • Movement break mandates for K-5 classroom teachers

Committee Updates: Social Justice & Community Outreach Committee

Tired and stretched thin…who has time to add social justice to their day??

So many of us are really feeling worn down by the demands of new curriculum, the multi-faceted needs of students impacted by Covid, trauma, instability, insufficient staffing or funding, & so much more. Y’all know what we’re talking about & could add a lot more to that list!! So in the face of all of this pressure, how do we stay the course of upholding racial equity & social justice in our teaching practices & curriculum?

  • Read and understand your contractually protected academic freedom (Article 10). 
  • Bookmark PAT Monthly Resources. Many members lovingly labored over the years to curate these resources that align with racial equity & social justice goals. Spend some time perusing them so when a subpar text or lesson is presented in the curriculum, you know where to turn for an alternative!
  • We have each other. How can your load be lightened by sharing the workload? We know of a few educator teams who have been able to increase their focus on social justice standards and decrease their after-contract work hours because they have built deep trust within their team which enables them to share their workload effectively. 
  • Go Big or Go Home? Nope! Go small! Go try one thing! Starting small is reasonable & valid!
  • If social justice & racial equity feel like an add-on because it isn’t embedded in the curriculum, take a step to make it integral to your way of thinking about teaching & learning. If you aren’t sure how to do that, reach out to a trusted colleague or our committee for guidance.
  • Share what you are trying with SJCO by emailing [email protected] and [email protected]. We would love to share your efforts in the next Advocate! Let’s inspire each other!

What’s On Deck?

November: Native American and Indigenous Peoples History Month

December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Building the “We” in PAT

The Social Justice Committee and Community Outreach (SJCO) Committee is partnering with External Organizing to build up our community ties and engagement.

The more connected we are, the better we understand our mutual needs, which in turn helps us to more effectively support one another. Are you connected to a neighborhood association, political person/organization, a labor partner (union), community organization (faith-based, non-profit, mutual aid, etc) that might be willing to show their support for teachers? Please scan this code and share your connections! Thank you- YOU make our union stronger!

Committee Updates: Racial Equity & Social Justice Committees

PAT members, please take 1-2 min to fill in this short survey about participation and interest in this year’s Black Lives Matter Week Of Action.

Thanks, 

Nedra Miller & Karen Liao, Racial Equity Co-Chairs

Julie Whitaker & David Scholten, SJCO Co-Chairs

Committee Updates: PAT PAC

Thank you to all the members who knocked doors, made calls, sent texts, gave money, or helped in any way to get the vote out this election cycle! As of this writing, it looks like most of the PAT PAC and OEA PAC-endorsed candidates and ballot measures were successful in their elections. 

We are celebrating, and taking a breather, but also gearing up for the next big job that’s ahead of us: Electing a school board that respects teachers this May, when 4 of the 7 seats on the PPS board are up. If you’re interested in helping make that happen, please join us at the next joint meeting of the Legislative Committee and PAC Board on January 18. RSVP here!

Upcoming Events

  • Community Listening Session: December 13th, 6:00pm-7:00pm, Tubman MS, RSVP here

  • Next PPS School Board meeting: December 13th, 6:00pm, MPEC

  • Next RA: December 14th, 4:30-6:30 PM, PAT Office

PAT Committees @ PAT Office

  • Advocacy Committee: January 4th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

  • Membership Committee: January 4th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

  • Internal Organizing: January 5th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

  • Legislative Committee: January 11th, 4:30-6:30 PM

  • PAT PAC: January 11th, 4:30-6:30 PM

  • IPD Committee: January 11th, 4:30-6:30 PM

  • External Organizing: January 12th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

OEA Events

1-1 Licensure Consultation - 15 minutes each, Multiple dates available, often every other Wednesday, 4:00 PM

Introduction to Restorative Practices Continuum - Webinar, Thursday, December 1st from 4:00-5:00 PM

For all upcoming events, please see the PAT calendar and OEA calendar.

Bargaining Brief, November 16th, 2022

Hello PAT Educators,

Yesterday our bargaining team met with PPS leaders to continue our discussion of the safety and behavior issues affecting so many of our buildings (watch the full session on the PAT youtube channel).

Many thanks to special education teachers Ginger Huizar (formally from George Middle School & now at Atkinson Elementary School) and Nate Farrell (from Marysville Elementary School) for sharing their firsthand experiences of what’s actually happening in special education classrooms across PPS. They detailed how special education staffing shortages and lack of supports are now impacting entire buildings, and what frontline educators need to truly serve our students. 

Our bargaining team finished presenting the changes we want to see in our contract related to safety and discipline (see PAT’s full Article 9 proposal), including setting environmental standards for all our buildings. 

No one should have to sidestep rat droppings on the way to a student’s desk or teach in a room without electricity or where the temperature is below 60 degrees or above 90 degrees. 

But meeting even these basic standards is proving to be a challenge for PPS, as we’ve seen firsthand in many of our buildings this week.

Unfortunately, the District has a very different plan for how to address these issues, which boils down to putting even more of the responsibility on classroom educators (see the District’s full proposal for Article 9).

Stay tuned for more details on our next bargaining session in two weeks, and thanks to the many buildings that are posting their “PAT Blue” pictures online. We’re all in this together.

In Solidarity,

Your PAT Bargaining Team

Steve Lancaster, Chair
Francisca Alvarez
Samara Bockelman
Julia Fogg
Thea Keith
Charity Powell
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

President’s Message: A Harm to One is a Harm to All

Hello Educators,

As you all know, Jacque and I receive a lot of emails from educators reaching out for help. We noticed an increase in Special Educators reaching out for help, and recently learned that last year there was a 30% turnover in the Special Ed department. 

A Harm to One is a Harm to All

We met with a small SpEd steering group on a Monday. By the end of the week we had a hybrid listening session that allowed members to share their experiences, identify trends, and identify possible actions. We finalized the plan with the original SpEd steering group and tried to order buttons, stickers, and other materials in time for the RA. We wanted the actions to coincide with our next bargaining session on November 1st so the SpEd focus and the bargaining focus coincided, uplifting both. Behind the scenes, we were connecting with media outlets, writing up grievances, and creating social media posts to get the word out. This was quite the endeavor to get done in about 2-3 weeks!

Thank you to all of our Executive Board members, our Reps, our organizers, and every special educator who came out to our Listening Sessions and thank you to every educator, community member, and ally that participated in our week of action! Special shout out to the folks who came out on a Sunday to pick up buttons for their schools and those who cranked out hundreds of buttons to make sure we had enough for every special educator. We had close to 60% of our sites pick up buttons and stickers on Sunday. When possible, we will make sure those materials go out in RA packets in the future. Thank you for being flexible with the quick turnaround!

Solidarity Forever

The Special Education Week of Action inspired the Eugene EA to do a similar action, as well as inquiries from folks over in St. Paul, MN over our process and materials. Although not everything came out perfectly, our actions showed PPS and our Special Educators that a harm to one is a harm to all! So far, all news coverage (herehere, and here) on our rally has been positive and encouraged folks to check out bargaining.

I am so proud to be your PAT President and we will continue to reach out and listen to our educators’ concerns. We recently met with our TOSAs around their workload increase and have a date scheduled to meet with our Pre-K/Head Start educators. Remember: We can only act on what we know is happening. Speak up, listen to each other, and support each other! The only way forward is together!

In Solidarity,

Anglea Bonilla

PAT President 

Know Your Contract: USING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUNDS

The PAT/PPS contract provides funds for professional development as well as tuition reimbursement (Article 22). The Professional Improvement Fund allows educators to spend $1500 over three years for transportation, meals, lodging, and registration costs to attend a conference, provided it has a legitimate pedagogical purpose.

In our last contract negotiations, we ensured that these funds are also available to temporary teachers whose positions are expected to exist for more than 135 days.

You will need to follow these guidelines to access the Professional Improvement Fund. The District will also reimburse professional educators for tuition cost up to six (6) non-cumulative hours in a 12-month period for which graduate credit is granted by a college or university. See the PAT/PPS contract for details and the PPS website for how to access your tuition reimbursement.

Know Your Contract: PARENT/TEACHER CONFERENCES

Your building may already be creating a schedule for Parent/Teacher Conferences in the fall. Evening conferences shall last no longer than three (3) hours and conclude by 8:30pm. A duty-free dinner break of at least sixty (60) consecutive minutes shall be scheduled prior to evening conferences. (Article 6.7.2).

Bargaining Update, November 4th, 2022

The PAT Bargaining Team had our second Bargaining Session with PPS on November 1st, 2022. Read our Bargaining Update HERE. Check out our initial proposal and presentation on how we envision student support, discipline, and safety could look in our schools.

We have OPEN BARGAINING! That means educators can come and observe in the room (or the overflow rooms) with us to show support. As observers, you cannot participate in discussions and must abide by our Bargaining Ground rules, specifically:

“Observers may be present for in person bargaining sessions. A maximum of 25 observers from each of the parties may attend in person bargaining sessions, with the understanding that some observers may need to be in a different room to observe bargaining through the livestream. Observers must follow District’s policies while observing and must not be audible to the bargaining teams during the sessions. In addition, bargaining sessions may be recorded and simulcast on a mutually agreed upon virtual platform and will be open to observation to the public, space permitting.”

We will also continue to livestream our bargaining sessions on our YouTube channel. Our next session will be on November 16, at PAT Offices from 2pm-4pm.

HOT TIPS: PTO and Missing Staff Meetings

Did you know that under our contract, you do NOT have to use your leave accruals to miss a staff meeting? If you have an appointment or your own child’s IEP meeting, you do NOT have to put in if you must miss the meeting or leave early. Please let your admin know, “I will have to miss/leave the staff meeting early for an appointment. Please send me a copy of any materials I may miss”.

Be warned: A pattern of missing staff meetings can lead to discipline. Please make sure you are only missing Staff Meetings when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Don’t forget, PAT ALSO shares things for the whole staff during staff meeting time every month!

Run for Interim Eboard Director or Interim Secretary by November 16!

Nominations are now open for two interim elected positions: PAT Executive Board Director and PAT Secretary! Nominations will close at 5:00 PM on November 16th (at the November RA).

The Interim Executive Board position will begin this November (and go through June 30, 2024), but the Interim Secretary position will not begin until July 1 (and will go through June 30, 2024).

Are you interested in taking a leadership role within your union and having an impact on its direction? If so, please consider running!

To nominate yourself for either of these positions, use this nomination formNomination forms must be emailed to Jennifer Dixon ([email protected]). Candidates who submit their forms by 5:00 pm on November 2, 2022, will have their statements distributed at the November RA. However, nominations can also be made from the floor at the November RA (by 5pm on November 16).

Any PAT member in good standing may run for this position. Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. (But you can become a member HERE in order to run.) Learn more about Executive Board Director responsibilities and Secretary responsibilities.

In accordance with our bylaws, the Representative Assembly will elect the interim positions. Voting will occur at the November 16th RA. Only elected reps, who are present during the time of voting, will be permitted to vote. Candidate speeches will be given at the November RA.

For more information, you can refer to the Nomination Letter to All Members (from the PAT Nominations and Elections Committee), or to the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.

PAT’s General Election- Nominations Open Soon

The PAT Nominations & Elections Committee announces that nominations for PAT’s General Election will open on November 16, 2022, at the November PAT Representative Assembly.

The positions open for nominations include: 

  • PAT Executive Board Directors (4 positions)
  • PAT Delegates to the OEA RA (approx. 30 positions)
  • PAT Delegates to the NEA RA (approx. 28 positions)

Any PAT member in good standing may run for any of these positions. Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. (But you can become a member HERE in order to run.) Detailed information about the terms and duties of the positions and the Nomination Form may be found on our website.

Nominations close at the December Representative Assembly, at 7:00pm on Wednesday, December 14.

The Voters’ Pamphlet and Ballots will be sent electronically to members on February 9, 2023. Votes must be cast by 5:00 PM on Thursday, February 23, 2023.

For more information, you can refer to the Nomination Letter to All Members and the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.

PAT PAC & OEA PAC Endorsements--Be Sure to Vote!

Ballots are here and it’s time to vote!

Here’s the complete list of PAT PAC and OEA PAC endorsements for the current election. Please keep it handy as you fill out your ballot, and please share it with friends, family, and neighbors to make sure we elect a full slate of education-friendly candidates. 

Local Offices & Ballot Measures:

Portland City Council Position 3: Jo Ann Hardesty

Multnomah County Chair: Jessica Vega Pederson

Measure 26-228 (Portland Charter Reform): YES

Oregon Legislature: 

HD 28: Dacia Grayber

HD 33: Maxine Dexter

HD 43: Tawna Sanchez

HD 44: Travis Nelson

HD 45: Thuy Tran

HD 46: Khanh Pham

SD 17: Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

Statewide Offices (from OEA PAC)

Oregon Governor: Tina Kotek

Oregon Labor Commissioner: Christina Stephenson

Measure 111 (right to healthcare): YES

Measure 112 (abolish slavery as punishment for a crime): YES

Measure 113 (end legislative walkouts): YES
Measure 114 (common sense gun reform): YES

Federal Offices (from OEA PAC)

US Senate: Ron Wyden

US House of Representatives, OR CD 1: Suzanne Bonamici

US House of Representatives, OR CD 3: Earl Blumenauer

US House of Representatives, OR CD 5: Jamie McLeod-Skinner

US House of Representatives, OR CD 6: Andrea Salinas

If you’re able, you can support these candidat

es further by signing up with a campaign to knock on doors, send texts, or make phone calls. Thank you to all of our members who volunteered the past two weekends canvassing! 

Campaign volunteer sign-up sites:

Jo Ann Hardesty

Jessica Vega Pederson

Tina Kotek

Christina Stephenson

Jamie McLeod-Skinner

You can find more information about PAT PAC and our candidates here, and about OEA PAC and their candidates here.

Social Justice & Community Outreach Committee

How are YOU weaving social justice and anti-racism into your work? 

Email [email protected] a photo and/or a short blurb describing a meaningful lesson, conversation, or practice that illuminated or cultured an opportunity to deepen anti-racist and social justice work in our PAT community. We would love to share your experience in a future edition of The Advocate to inspire others to center race and justice in all that we do. 

Celebrations!

Want to know what PAT is up to? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @PDXteachers! Check out our President’s Twitter @ABonillaPAT 

SpEd Week of Action

Thank you to all members who participated in the SpEd Week of Action by showing up to the Board Meeting & Bargaining, writing letters to SpEd Admin, wearing supportive buttons and stickers, and “Marching on the Boss” to deliver our SpEd Group Grievance to demand safe staffing and supports. We see you and appreciate your solidarity. 

See some of the press coverage on Friday’s action herehere, and here.

PAT Rep Retreat

Thank you to all of our building representatives and organizers who were able to join us at Agate Beach in Newport for our rep retreat! Member-leaders received training on how to support members, have 1:1 conversations, represent members with administrators, and learned more about Community Schools.

Retirement Planning Seminar- November 17th, 4:30 PM

PAT is proud to host our first retirement seminar of the year dedicated to financial wellbeing and planning for the future, led by veteran financial advisor Ed Foster. If you are in the late stages of your career and considering retiring now or in the near future, this seminar is for you! Topics for this seminar include:

  • How does my pension work?
  • How does the IAP account fit into that?
  • When can I retire? Does it make a difference if I retire now or later?
  • What pension options are available when I retire?
  • Are there recent changes to PERS?
  • What is a “PERS Bubble” and how can I get one?
  • What District incentives and options are available?

RSVP HERE. The seminar will be in person on Thursday, November 17, 4:30-6:00 PM, at the PAT office at 345 NE 8th Ave. See the flyer here.

(*These retirement seminars are a benefit of PAT membership, and only available for PAT members. Not a member yet? Join Here!)