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 


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.


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. 


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!)

OEA Grant Applications Due Today

Deadline to apply is today!

OEA Barb Drennan Promising Practices Grant Program

Have a plan that could enhance your classroom skills or boost student achievement? An idea for a site-based professional development activity that could build partnerships? OEA’s Center for Great Public Schools awards Promising Practice Grants to provide student learning and professional development for OEA members across Oregon.

Grants for this program are accepted until November 4.

2022-23 Promising Practice Grant packet

Apply for a Promising Practice Grant here!

OEA's Center for Great Public Schools' Educator Empowerment Grant

Educator Empowerment grants will be awarded to help local associations engage members around important issues that impact teaching and learning.

The grant may be used to support professional learning and/or to enhance and improve professional practice in a specific area. Grant awards range from $1000-$5000. Contact Leah Starkovich at the Center for Great Public Schools for more information or ideas on professional practice organizing.

2022-23 Educator Empowerment Grant flier

Apply for an Educator Empowerment grant here!

Check out more Grants at

Where in the World is Advocacy Cadre?!

Good News! We have located our OEA official to help us with Cadre interviews. If you applied to the cadre between last year and last month, look out for an email for the next steps.

If you did not apply and are waiting to call in, reach out to a rep in the meantime! We hope to have things up and running by the end of November. Thank you all for your patience as we get the pieces into place!

Upcoming Events

  • Next RA: November 16th, 4:30-6:30 PM, PAT Office
  • Retirement Planning Seminar: November 17th, 4:30-6:30 PM, PAT Office, RSVP Here

PAT Committees

  • Bargaining Committee: November 9th, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • IPD Committee: November 9th, 4:30-6:30 PM 
  • Racial Equity Committee: November 9th, 4:30-6:30 PM 
  • 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

Get Out the Vote: Volunteer for phone banking shifts! Everyday until Election Night, afternoon, evening, and weekend shifts are available.

Introduction to Restorative Practices - Webinar, Wednesday, November 9, 2022 · 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM,

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

Bargaining Brief--November 1, 2022

Hello Educator,

Today educators met with District leaders to address two pressing issues—what to do about the sharp rise in safety and behavior issues across PPS and how to best meet the needs of our special education students, who now account for close to 1 out of every 5 students enrolled in PPS.

Unfortunately, after today’s discussion it appears that PPS administrators are more concerned with managing their image than doing what’s best for our students. For example, one administrator expressed concern about the stigma associated with having an intervention space to support students who are struggling, failing to recognize that those students are already receiving interventions in public spaces outside the classroom–in the hallways, in the special education classrooms, at the secretary’s desk, or in administrative offices.

We cannot stand by and let District leaders gaslight our colleagues or the families we serve. The District’s current practices and their bargaining proposal will make schools less safe and widen educational inequalities within PPS. Cynically accusing educators of perpetuating systemic racism will not change that fact.

As educators, we believe that every student deserves a classroom environment where they can learn and thrive, particularly our special education students who face such unique and varied challenges.  We will steadfastly oppose any effort by PPS to warehouse our students with a cookie-cutter approach to special education placements. 

When student behavior disrupts the learning environment, appropriate, trauma-informed responses are necessary. And we believe our current contract already contains the tools to address these problems, if the District would simply follow our existing agreement. We want to build on this framework by implementing a consistent, fully resourced District-wide approach to student support grounded in restorative justice practices. 

Despite today’s response from the District, we will continue to fight for a system that provides  the fully resourced and equitably implemented trauma-informed supports necessary to help students remain in school and learning, and to minimize the classroom disruptions that are mushrooming across PPS. 

As PAT Bargaining Team Chair Steve Lancaster said in bargaining, “It’s important to recognize the gap between what a classroom educator can be expected to do and what kids need– students need lower class sizes, intervention coaches, and many other resources; contract language changes alone cannot fix all needs of students.”

Students, families, and frontline educators are in the best position to determine the classroom environment that will help our special education students thrive, and we will continue to push the District to create these individualized learning environments.

Not only is it our legal obligation, it’s the only way to create true educational equity in PPS.

Thank you to all the members who showed up to support out bargaining team today, and Julia Fogg and Dr. Vincent Chirimwami for being our expert guests.

Read our proposal HERE. Watch the video of bargaining here: Part 1 and Part 2. See our presentation HERE.

Take care,
PAT Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster (Chair), Francisca Alvarez, Samara Bockelman, Thea Keith & Charity Powell

Portland Association of Teachers


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.

Become a Substitute Rep!

Elections for PAT Substitute Representatives for the 2022-2023 school year are here!

Please submit your name HERE by Monday, October the 24 if you are interested in serving as a Substitute Representative and attending our monthly Rep Assemblies on behalf of your fellow members.

Any Substitute Teacher who is a PAT member may nominate themselves for election as a PAT Substitute Representative.

PAT Representatives are the heart of the union. In addition to participating in the monthly PAT Representative Assemblies (RA's), Substitute Representatives take the lead in organizing and advocating for the Substitute members of PAT. This means Reps help to recruit newly hired substitutes into PAT, work to bring members together to discuss how best to organize and advocate around issues that matter to Substitutes, and work with PAT staff to support and represent the concerns and interests of Substitute members.  

According to the PAT Bylaws: “One representative may be elected for each nine (9) full-time equivalent members or major fraction thereof, as of January 15, per site or group."

Around October 25th, we will send out the Substitute Rep Election ballot to all Substitute Members to vote.

Please click here to see the Substitute Representative roles outlined.

*In order to be a Substitute Rep, and in order to vote for Substitute Reps, you must be a PAT Member. If you are not a member yet, but would like to join so you can run and/or vote, please contact [email protected] ASAP.

Thank you for your time and interest!

Bargaining Brief-- October 12, 2022

Dear Educator:

After agreeing to negotiate over the Safety and Student Discipline article (Article 9) in the PAT-PPS contract, the District recently informed PAT that they are unilaterally implementing a new "Disciplinary Matrix." 

As you know first hand, safety is already a major challenge in our buildings, and the District’s changes would make matters much worse. 

Because the Discipline Matrix is part of the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, which the District cannot legally alter without bargaining with our union, your PAT Bargaining Team met with District leaders today to hear why they believe these changes are necessary and what problems they will solve. 

While we share the District’s broad goals of ending disproportionate discipline for Black, Native American, and Latinx/e students, as well as ensuring every student has appropriate support, PPS has repeatedly failed to implement its existing programs or deliver long-promised resources. In fact, the district proposed removing our contract language ensuring a “Full Continuum of Special Education Services” in a year when our Special Educators are already struggling to keep students safe and provide appropriate services for each student. 

Today’s presentation (which you can watch on the PAT youtube channel) did little to inspire confidence that things might be different this time. Once again, PPS leaders seem focused on the wrong end of the problem, trying to wish away the fact that many of our buildings are experiencing serious safety issues like students punching their peers or throwing chairs at school staff. 

Educators know we will never be able to prevent such behavior by focusing solely on the consequences proscribed in the student handbook. What we need are real personnel and supports in place on the front-end, so we can head off disruptive behaviors, and ensure all our students enjoy a classroom environment that makes learning possible.

And over the past five years we’ve pushed to incorporate these kinds of supports and systems into our contract–everything from training for staff around anti-racism, implicit bias, and culturally responsive practices to fully fleshed-out Multi-Tiered Systems of Support that are consistently implemented across the District  and don’t put everything on the teacher’s back. 

Unfortunately, the District has dropped the ball time and time again implementing these programs, and their current proposal doesn’t even provide for training or any identified supports for students or educators, despite Superintendent Guerrero’s claims. 

We will continue to stand up for what our students need, and to ensure programs like restorative justice are implemented the way they were designed. But until the District is willing to make a long-term commitment, with real resources and follow-through, our students and our school safety will continue to suffer. 

We will continue to update members as we bargain over safety and student discipline. But fortunately, we will start bargaining changes in our full contract this school year, which gives every educator across PPS a chance to make their voice heard and set PPS on a better course.

In Solidarity,
PAT Bargaining Team
Steve Lancaster, Chair
Francisca Alvarez
Samara Bockelman
Thea Keith
Charity Powell

Substitute Educators: Opportunities to Engage with Your Union

Substitute PAT members have the opportunity to shape our union and participate with other substitute and full time educators to organize inside our union and in our communities for quality public schools for all.

Not a member of PAT? Click HERE to Join PAT now!

Take a look at the Contract to become familiar with your rights. 

Join the Substitute Committee! Click here to RSVP for the next committee meeting. Committee meetings are generally once a quarter from 4:30-6:30 PM at the PAT local office (345 NE 8th Ave). Come eat, drink, and chat with substitutes and get involved in making our union strong! 

Know Your Contract--Sick Days--Did you know you get a sick day as a substitute for every 17.7 days you work? If you need to take a sick day, whether or not you had to cancel a job on Absence Management, fill out this form.

License Renewal for Substitutes--If you are applying to renew a teaching license from  01/01/2022 through 12/31/2023, educators are not required to report Professional Development Units (PDUs) to TSPC to renew or reinstate a license. For more information on this waiver, click here.

Incentive Pay--Earn an additional $50 per day/ $35 half-day incentive pay if you work at one of the following schools:

  • SE: Grout, Harrison Park, Kelly, Kellogg, Lane, Lent, Sellwood
  • NE: Beaumont, Faubion, Rigler, Roseway Heights, Sabin, Scott, Vernon
  • N: Beach, Cesar Chavez, Chief Joseph, George, Harriet Tubman, James John, Jefferson, Ockley Green, Rosa Parks, Roosevelt, Sitton. 

Time-sensitive announcements (as of October 10th):

  • The district will be offering another paid professional training day on "Building Your Guest Teacher Toolkit" on Friday 10/14 for substitute educators. If you didn’t attend the last one, you can register through Pepper here.


President's Message: Back in the Swing of Things


Hello Educators,

PAT held our Annual (except during the pandemic) Representative and Organizer Retreat in Newport, OR on October 1st-2nd. We had almost 100 members and staff show up and get training on the fundamentals of representation, using grievances to build power, and how to win a strong contract through organizing. We finished up the weekend with sessions on organizing parents and communities and the role of our union in promoting racial justice. We also spent time connecting and decompressing at the coast, hopefully rejuvenating our spirits in preparation for the work ahead of us. 

Finally, I hope that if you are feeling overwhelmed you can have some compassion for yourself. Remember, educators are constantly told to carry broken systems on their backs. One Special Educator here at PPS has this as her email signature: “I will not run myself ragged, to fit into raggedy systems” and I find myself quoting this a lot. 

You are enough, you have the capacity to grow, you are doing the best you can with what you’ve been given. We are here for you.

Take care,


President, Portland Association of Teachers

New Year, New PAT

We are finally fully staffed! I want to introduce you to our two new Uniserv staff, Ryan Olds and Jessica Nuti!

Jessica Nuti comes to us from San Francisco by way of Germany. She was an organizer and representative at both SEIU Local 521 and SAG-AFTRA. There she worked with thousands of workers as well as over 80 worksites. Jessica just finished her Masters studies of Labor Policies and Globalization through the Global Labor University at the Berlin School of Economics and Law in Germany. Her passion, work experience, and education are in line with our PAT union values. We look forward to her work representing members and as the liaison to the Racial Equity Committee, Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee, Legislative Committee, and our External Organizers. Welcome Jessica!

Ryan Olds has worked for OEA since 2019 as a Uniserv Consultant in Klamath Falls where he has organized and bargained a strong contract for the Certified educators and Education Support Professionals (ESPs). He comes with a background in law and a strong organizing, bargaining, and union member training experience. We are excited to have Ryan working on our Bargaining Team and with our Bargaining committee, Nominations and Elections Committee, and Advocacy Committees. Welcome Ryan!

Ryan and Jessica’s addition will complete our UniServ Consultant team for PAT. John Berkey and Kathi Koenig are working on a limited basis until the end of October until our staff is onboarded. Your building reps will receive a communication around which staff will support which schools in the coming days.

KYC: Overage Pay Determination

The PAT/PPS contract states, “Student loads will be calculated on the third Monday in October and the third Monday in February.” (Article

This year, the third Monday in October is Monday, October 17th

All professional educators should save a copy of their Synergy class lists, and of their course preparation lists, on Friday, October 14th, and then keep a copy of that record.  

PPS will make overage payments in the November check. 

If any professional educator does not receive payment for an overage, claims can be submitted to PPS in December, by filling out a form that will be sent by PPS.