President's Message: A Slow Boil

You are probably familiar with the parable about the boiling frog. According to the story, if you put a frog in a pot of boiling water it will immediately hop out. However, if you put a frog in cool water and very gradually heat it up, the frog will “be stuck in the comfort of its surroundings,” and stay put until it is too hot, and too late. Although modern science has proven that this is not how frogs behave, this story serves as a brilliant metaphor for what is happening to PAT members and other Oregon educators.

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Power Through Collective Action: Members Organize Around Construction Delays

PAT successfully bargained new contract language requiring that members "have access to their worksites to unpack and organize their rooms as soon as possible but, at a minimum, one week prior to their first work day". When Chapman reps discovered their school would not be ready in time, they contacted PAT before the start of the school year. This added attention helped speed up the construction timelines. In response to their safety concerns, Lewis Elementary School members pressured PPS to release lead and asbestos test results to the staff and school community prior to their scheduled report date.

At Beverly Cleary, construction problems were more extreme, and unhealthy. Many members had no access to their rooms, and the staff contended with construction noise, fumes, and dust as they tried to prepare for the first day with students.  Many members contacted PAT. Members gathered stories of construction problems, and decided on a joint strategy: to present a letter to administration and to contact parents and the media through their union. The Superintendent and two School Board members visited the building and delayed the start of school. PAT will follow up with a grievance regarding these three buildings to establish protocols when the District schedules construction in other buildings in the future.

Please Donate to the PAT Sick Leave Bank

Last school year, PAT members helped dozens of colleagues in need thanks to contributions to the PAT Sick Leave Bank.  These colleagues had exhausted their accumulated leave balances, but were unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they avoided the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage.

Thanks to your generosity, last year we met our goal of collecting the maximum number of voluntarily donated hours allowed under our contract. Recent improvements in our contract mean that we can now fulfill almost all applications for assistance prior to running out of Sick Leave Bank hours.  This shows the District that PAT members act on their belief that an injury to one is an injury to all.

It’s a new school year, with new needs, and a new Bank to fill. We can accept up to 4000 hours and have a long way to go to reach that goal. Read more about the Sick Leave Bank guidelines here.

Please donate here - and thank you!

Help PAT Engage on Fridays!

The goal of the Engage! project is to have a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with every one of our members to learn what‘s working in our schools, and what’s getting in the way of teaching and learning.

This fall, we need enough volunteers to get to every school site we didn't visit last year. We need your help to make this possible! 

Please volunteer on an upcoming Friday to take a day away from your classroom to talk to teachers in another school. OEA will pay for your sub, and volunteers have described their experience as being “invigorating and enlightening.”

You can see where we plan to be each week when you click on the link: Sign up here!

Concerns with the Guaranteed Viable Curriculum

We have heard many concerns from members about the GVC (Guaranteed Viable Curriculum) that the District is rolling out this year. The GVC includes scope and sequence, priority standards, curriculum maps, and assessments, for Math, Science, Language Arts, and Health, K-12. We have a lot of questions about the GVC, including workload, lack of PD, the timing of this and other new initiatives, and concerns about instructional practice.

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From the PAT PAC: Labor Canvass for Jo Ann Hardesty, Sunday September 16th

The Portland Association of Teachers PAC is proud to be part of a growing coalition of unions supporting Jo Ann Hardesty for Portland City Council. Join supporters from Oregon AFSCME Local 189, SEIU Local 49, SEIU Local 503, Amalgamated Transit Union 757, Portland Community College Federation of Classified Employees Local 3922, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, to talk to voters about why Jo Ann is the new leader we need on the City Council. No experience necessary.  Please RSVP here for the Labor Canvass, and share the event on Facebook. 

The PAT PAC is funded by voluntary contributions by members, and does not use dues dollars to support political candidates. Your voluntary contribution gives power to the voice of teachers in local politics. If you are not already a PAT PAC contributor, please fill out this form and return it the PAT office.

New Educator Social - Thursday September 20th

Join PAT members on Thursday September 20th for a chance to meet other colleagues new to PPS and get practical tips about teaching in our District. We’ll share some snacks and beverages, and talk informally about best practices for:

  • Arranging for a substitute
  • Writing good sub plans
  • Requesting a sick or personal day
  • Reading that check stub

Bring your questions!

Date:             Thursday, September 20th
Time:             4:30 – 6:30 PM
Location:       PAT Office – 345 NE 8th Avenue
RSVP:            Fill out this form

Come to the Northwest Teachers for Social Justice Conference!

The Northwest Teachers for Social Justice conference is returning to Portland this year for the 11th Annual Conference. It will be Saturday October 20th, 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, at Madison High School.  The Portland Association of Teachers is excited to be a sponsor of this amazing event once again!

This year, the Keynote Speaker will be environmental activist Winona LaDuke. The conference also includes over 60 workshops, many of which are led by teachers. Learn more and register at [email protected]

PAT Member Aaron Green-Mitchell Wins National Education Grant

Aaron Green-Mitchell, site support instructor at George Middle School, was recently awarded a “Learning and Leading” grant by the National Education Association.  Aaron will share his research on the role of language acquisition as a causal factor in the growth of students’ pro-social cognition and behavior at an upcoming national conference. He will also work with Grace Rodgers, George’s instructional specialist, to provide staff professional development that will help teachers increase the linguistic and social proficiency of George students.

Congratulations Aaron!

Make Plans to Attend the PAT Picnic - Friday September 14th

Rain or Shine! Join your fellow PAT members and community at the annual picnic. Food, drinks, ice cream and live music will be provided. Families welcome!

Friday, September 14, 2018
3:30 - 6:30 PM
Laurelhurst Park
Picnic Area D

Help PAT Engage!

The goal of the Engage! project is to have a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with every one of our members, to learn what‘s working in our schools and what’s getting in the way of teaching and learning. Sign up here to volunteer to be a listener.

This fall, we need enough volunteers to get to every school site we didn't visit last year. We need your help to make this possible!

Please volunteer on an upcoming Friday to take a day away from your classroom to talk to teachers in another school. OEA will pay for your sub, and volunteers have described their experience as being “invigorating and enlightening.”

You can see where we plan to be each week when you click on the link above.

Top Reasons to Be a PAT Member

Read the full list here

There’s power in numbers, and one of the most important ways to safeguard conditions that support teaching and learning is to become a PAT member. Together we can ensure PPS has reasonable class sizes, professional pay, and working conditions that attract and retain quality educators. We can also strengthen classroom learning conditions and improve wrap-around supports for our students. Find our more about why it pays to become a PAT member!


Welcome Back!

Fellow PAT Professional Educators:

On behalf of the Vice President, our Executive Board, and myself, welcome to the new school year.  This is always an exciting time and one that offers new opportunities working with students and colleagues.  Each year, whether it was during my time at Woodlawn, King, Whitaker, or Peninsula, and whether I was about to teach 5th grade, Special Education, or middle school math and science, I knew how lucky I was to be a professional educator.   Though I miss the classroom terribly, I really enjoy the opportunities our Association offers.  I take pride in serving as PAT President and in making sure our union is relevant to our membership.

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A #metoo Moment for PPS

Last week the School Board released a report detailing their investigation into the Mitch Whitehurst case. I’ve read the entire 322-page document, and there’s a lot to digest. I’m shocked and saddened by how many times principals and other high-level administrators failed to act on reports from female students and employees.  As a woman, and an educator, I can’t help noticing that it wasn’t until an adult male was victimized that serious action took place.

I’m left wondering if PPS may finally be having its own #metoo moment.

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Leaders Needed: Run to Be a PAT Representative

Every year, PAT members at each site elect Building Representatives. Please consider running to be a Rep! Your site can elect 1 Rep for every 9 members. Any PAT member can run to be a rep, and all PAT members can vote in Rep elections.

What do Building Reps do? Our union works because Reps do a lot! That’s why it is important to have a full team of Reps to share the load. Here are some of the responsibilities Reps take on:

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Take Action on School Gun Violence

On May 18, 2018, 10 people died and at least 10 others were injured at a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. This is the 22nd U.S. school shooting since the beginning of the year.

To date, more students and staff have been killed in school shootings this year than soldiers killed in active combat.

We, as a society, must do better to protect our students from gun violence both inside and outside of schools. Here are three things you can do right now:

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Compensation Review: Deadline June 1st

On Monday, April 16th, you should have received an email from to your PPS account from “PAT Salary Review”. If you think you might at all qualify, please fill out the link.

You do not need to email the PAT office to let us know or ask us if you should fill out the form, just go for it!

It’s also important to be aware that sending the info to PAT does not fulfill the requirement to submit your request for salary placement review to the District.

Here is the content of the email:

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Retroactive Credit for Master's Degree: Deadline June 1st

In their April 16th email addressing compensation review, the District also spelled out how educators can get credit for Master’s degrees earned prior to licensure. If you think you might at all qualify, please fill out the link below.

The email states:

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As Teacher Walkouts Spread, The Funding Fight Comes to Oregon

In an inspiring display of solidarity and commitment, teachers across the country have been walking off the job to protest cuts in education funding, and corporate tax breaks driving them.

Just last week 26,000 teachers in North Carolina stormed the state capitol demanding more funding for public education. This action followed week-long teacher strikes in West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Arizona, as well as shorter strikes in Kentucky and Colorado.  

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National Board Certification Workshop: Thursday, May 31st

National Board Certification in Oregon is on the rise. Provisions in our contract and TSPC provide incentives and support for teachers who earn their National Board Certification. For more information on National Boards, the State Bill that provides funding for NBCT Candidates, incentives offered in PPS for National Board-Certified Teachers, or supports available for NBCT candidates, there will be an info session open to PAT members at the PAT Office (345 NE 8th Ave) on Thursday, May 31st from 4:30-5:30 PM. If you have questions, please contact Sara Daley, NBCT at [email protected].