This Saturday: Rally to Support Mxm BLOC- Centering BIPOC Families and Teachers at BESC

This Saturday, March 13 at 3:00 PM, join us in supporting Mxm BLOC at BESC (501 N Dixon St, Portland, OR 97227) in making a call to action that centers BIPOC educators, students, and communities for a safe return to school. Details in the flyer here.

President's Message

On Friday, Governor Brown came to Sitton Elementary to announce that, ready or not, she is ordering school buildings to open for in-person instruction, giving educators and district leaders only ten working days to reopen buildings in the state’s largest school district. It goes without saying, that made an already complicated situation monumentally more difficult to navigate. 

We have been working for months to come to agreement on plans for opening our schools to in-person opportunities for our students, and we continue to insist that they are centered around our core priorities of safety, stability, and equity for our students.

As we navigate another mandate in this already chaotic year, we are holding tight to what we know we need for a safe and equitable spring: 

  • Remote options for students, families, and educators who need it.
  • comprehensive safety program (including PPE, ventilation, testing and tracing, social distancing, and building-level joint safety committees empowered to close out-of-compliance classrooms).
  • Equitable instruction, in-person and online, centered on what students need.
  • Enough time to prepare our classrooms and plan our lessons.

A Full Court Press at the Bargaining Table

The Governor and the school district have made it clear that we are moving forward with hybrid learning this spring, ready or not. Your PAT Bargaining Team has been working tirelessly in the last week, as they have been all year, to steer the plans for the rest of this year in the best possible direction, toward a safe and equitable plan. 

This week, including today, our team is working in small groups with members of the PPS team, toward the goal of coming to agreement on all our outstanding issues. We will have an update at tonight’s RA for your building reps, and plan to hold an All-Member Bargaining Update webinar on Friday evening-- look for a link tomorrow to register. 

The PAT Path Forward

We know we can not return to “normal” this spring. That is why over the last two weeks, we asked PAT members at every school to engage in conversations about spring instruction. These happened after the workday, on a volunteer basis, facilitated by PAT member leaders at each site. 

We asked educators to talk about 4 questions: 

  • What is working in CDL that should not be disrupted? 
  • What are your students' greatest needs that are not being met in CDL?
  • What would meet those needs? 
  • What is your vision for how spring instruction could be designed to safely meet those needs?

PAT leaders held over 83 building conversations in 79 schools, involving over 1,500 members. Facilitators recorded notes on commonalities. We also created an individual feedback form to gather quantitative data, which produced almost 1,400 responses. 

We heard from the majority of our K-5, K-8, Middle, and High Schools, and analyzed the data to look for differences. But what we found was a huge amount of agreement across grade levels. 

Overwhelmingly, at every grade level, educators identified the same need that parents identified in the recent PPS survey— students need opportunities for social interaction.  

Our educators submitted so many creative suggestions about how we can provide this: small social groups, clubs, affinity groups, art, hands-on educational activities and extensions.  There was much consensus that outdoor activities-- which could include music, dance, gardening, and movement-- could meet students’ needs for socialization without sacrificing safety. 

We also found striking similarities across all grade levels PK-12 in our vision for the best path forward this spring. Educators want robust CDL options maintained for core subjects into spring, with in-person opportunities that focus on the social/emotional health of students, peer interaction, physical movement, and student engagement. 

Educators also noted many things that are going well in CDL. Of course, remote learning is the safest way to prevent transmission of COVID-19. A year into distance learning, educators, students, and families have developed routines and structure, and many educators have found ways to provide small-group instruction that targets students' needs and interests. 

We know that many students and families, for a variety of good reasons, have chosen to remain in CDL. These are frequently our most vulnerable students. We must prioritize stability for students who choose to continue learning remotely, and not disrupt what’s currently working.

Kids Deserve More Than “Back to Normal”

No matter what happens this spring, we know what we believe in. This pandemic continues to demonstrate what a critical institution public schools are for our communities, and just how central schools are to the social and emotional well-being of our students.

The problems that are front page news today are not new. We’ve been talking about these issues for decades. We know that our goal is not to get back to “normal” this spring, or in the fall, because Oregon public schools haven’t been meeting our students’ needs for decades.

It would be a tragically missed opportunity if, in the disruption caused by the pandemic, we fail to utilize this pause in what is “normal” to refocus on what we know is most important-- nurturing our children, honoring who are and all they bring, and supporting them in achieving what they believe in and strive for. 

The COVID crisis demonstrated that there IS money available to do all sorts of things that were unimaginable a year ago. It’s time to muster the political will to put our students at the top of list, and truly create the schools our students deserve.

OEA Legislative Virtual Advocacy Week

OEA is still organizing a “Lobby Day” this year- they will be hosting a week of virtual town halls between our members and legislative leaders. The new concept is called Virtual Advocacy Week. Register here!

Each evening from March 29 – April 2, OEA will host a Zoom session at 5:30 PM. The town hall style meeting will last for 45 minutes. Each night will have a specified discussion topic, and as they confirm themes and legislative guests, they will make those announcements. If registration exceeds capacity on any given night, they will add a second session at 7:00 PM. 

We encourage all members to register. OEA will reach out to all registrants to select their preferred night of attendance as we get closer to the event. All those who register by March 12th will receive a cool swag box with some fun lobbying props.

Navigating the Unassignment & Transfer Process

This week, building administrators received staffing allocations for the 2021-2022 school year. We are told that there will not be an overall reduction in staffing next year-- this is great news. However, as is true every year, changes in programming and staffing may cause reductions of positions in some buildings (resulting in “unassignments”) and available vacant positions in others. 

An “unassignment” does not mean the educator loses a job at PPS; it means they will be transferred to a different position. Educators unassigned from their current position  should apply for vacant positions for which they are licensed. Unassigned educators are eligible to apply for positions during the Internal transfer process. See: FAQ: Unassignment & Transfer.

Educators who are not unassigned but seek to transfer to a different site may apply for posted vacancies. Contract educators and 3rd year probationary educators may apply in the Internal phase (along with any unassigned educator). See: FAQ: Applying & Interviewing for Positions.

1st and 2nd year probationary educators, temporary educators, and substitute educators may apply in the External phase, along with outside applicants. All unassigned educators in a subject area must be assigned before PPS may consider any External phase applicants. See: Internal v. External Phase – When Can I Apply?

In all cases, transfers will occur according to the process outlined in Article 18 of the PAT/PPS contract.

 Here is the timeline:

  • March 18 & 19, 4:30-6:00 p.m. – PPS Info Meetings for Unassigned Educators
  • March 29 - April 2 - Internal Phase Vacancies Posted
  • April 5 – 7 - Interviews
  • Mid-April - Unassigned Educators Notified of Assignments
  • April 20 - External Phase Opens 

Contract Exceptions for 2021-22

What is a Contract Exception: A Contract Exception is a process that allows a worksite to apply for an exception to the terms and conditions of the collective  bargaining agreement (CBA). While creating exceptions to our contract language is not encouraged, we recognize that specific worksites may have a specific need for a given year. This process allows for that need to be considered. Contract Exceptions must be approved by the PAT Advocacy Committee and the District prior to implementation. A contract exception is valid only for the school year for which it was approved. 

Who decides if my school should submit an exception for approval: Contract Exceptions are member driven, so should be initiated by educators. 

Deadline: The deadline this year is Friday, May 7th, 2021 (for Contract Exceptions for next academic year). Contract Exceptions are welcomed prior to this date. When Contract Exceptions are received before the deadline, it provides more time for documents to be reviewed and questions to be answered. At times, the Advocacy Committee needs additional information prior to making a decision. Find the Contract Exception form here

Help Us Celebrate Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and our PAT Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee and our PAT Racial Equity Committee are once again teaming up to bring events and resources into our classrooms and our community. 

If you are interested in helping to plan for APIHM or have lessons/resources to share, please contact Tiffany Koyama Lane at [email protected] and Karen Liao at [email protected].

PAT BLM Shirts-- Limited Supply Left

In February, we had hundreds of members participate in our Black Lives Matter Week of Action, including coming by PAT to pledge to participate and pick up a shirt. We have a small number of BLM shirts left, in Unisex sizes Large, XL, and XXL, and would love to get them to members. If you are still interested in getting a shirt in one of these 3 available sizes, please fill out this form. These are first come, first serve! Thank you for showing up for Black Lives! 

New National Board Certification Grant Opportunity for BIPOC and Early Educators

National Board Certification is the most respected professional certification available in education and provides numerous benefits to teachers, students, and schools. It was designed to develop, retain, and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. 

Under a new grant, there are funds allocated specifically to support BIPOC and early career educators in Oregon in obtaining their certification.

 

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Rally to Support SEIU Members- Custodians and Nutrition Services at Woodmere

This Friday, March 12 at 3:00 PM, come to Woodmere Elementary (7900 SE Duke St, Portland, OR 97206), and rally with SEIU nutrition services and custodians in demanding that the district prioritize the health and safety of their staff. See their flyer for more information.

Rally to Support MXM BLOC- Centering BIPOC Families and Teachers at BESC

This Saturday, March 13 at 3:00 PM, join us at BESC (501 N Dixon St, Portland, OR 97227) to support MXM BLOC making a call to action that centers BIPOC educators, students, and communities for a safe return to school. Details in the flyer here.

Other Upcoming Events

March 10, 4:30-6:30 PM: PAT Rep Assembly

March 10, 5:00–6:15 PM: LERC Racial Equity and Union Solidarity Series -- Register here.

March 18 & 19, 4:30-6:00 PM:PPS Informational Meeting for Unassigned Educators (details to follow)

Upcoming Committees Meeting, RSVP Here

  • Advocacy Committee, March 17, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • IPD Committee, March 17, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Substitute Committee, March 17, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Bargaining Committee, March 31, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Racial Equity Committee, March 31, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee, March 31, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Membership Committee, April 1, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Legislative Committee, April 1, 5:00-7:00 PM

OEA Webinars

Ongoing Series: ODE Promising Practices Idea Exchange

  • Wednesday, March 17, 4:00-5:00 PM: Engaging and Supporting Families
  • Wednesday, March 31, 4:00-5:00 PM: Supporting Students who are Emerging Bilingual and Students Experiencing Disability

Thursday, March 18, 4:00-5:00PM: Digital Reading Strategies (webinar) Register Here

NEA Webinars

  • Monday, March 22, 4:00-5:00 PM: Rethinking Grading with Agency and Equity  Traditional grading practices often go unexamined despite their potential for harm. This webinar is designed to critically examine assumptions about grading, look at current grading practices, and imagine alternatives to the status quo. Register here
  • Monday, April 12, 4:00-5:00 PM: Phenomena-Centered Science in your Classroom Centering your K-12 science instruction around phenomena can build student engagement and understanding. We’ll explore key aspects of science instruction, share NGSS-aligned resources for the new school year, and consider strategies (like Driving Question Boards) that support science in your K-12 (possibly virtual) classrooms. Register here. 
  • Friday, April 12, 4:00-5:00 PM: Building Slides for Accessibility: Why and How Explore best practices for digital-visual accessibility. The majority of our time will be spent learning about practical tools and strategies you can implement immediately and efficiently into your lessons. The tool we will focus on for this presentation is Google Slides, but the principals can be applied widely to any digital content. Register here

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

OEA Legislative Virtual Advocacy Week

OEA is still organizing a “Lobby Day” this year- they will be hosting a week of virtual town halls between our members and legislative leaders. The new concept is called Virtual Advocacy Week. Register here!

Each evening from March 29 – April 2, OEA will host a Zoom session at 5:30 PM. The town hall style meeting will last for 45 minutes. Each night will have a specified discussion topic, and as they confirm themes and legislative guests, they will make those announcements. If registration exceeds capacity on any given night, they will add a second session at 7:00 PM. 

We encourage all members to register. OEA will reach out to all registrants to select their preferred night of attendance as we get closer to the event. All those who register by March 12th will receive a cool swag box with some fun lobbying props.

Response to Governor Brown's Reopening Mandate

Dear PAT Member,

On Friday,  Governor Brown held a press conference at Sitton Elementary to announce that all districts in Oregon will be required to return to in-person instruction, by March 29th for grades K-5, and by April 19 for grades 6-12. She also wrote that “CDL may be offered for individual students when accommodations are necessary for individual student health and safety.”

This announcement, and the forthcoming executive order demonstrates how little our Governor understands public education, or what it takes to open our school buildings safely and equitably. 

We have been pushing for a solution that is safe, that centers students' needs, and that is workable given the realities of our resources and facilities. Adhering to an artificial timeline to put bodies is buildings would upend that work, creating chaos for our staff, our parents, and our students, who have already had more than enough uncertainty in the last year.

Despite Governor’s Brown’s timeline, PAT will continue to fight to make sure that plans for in-person learning are safe and equitable, including honoring the needs of our students who wish to remain in CDL.

At the bargaining table, we have reached important agreements on safety, including proper PPE, air purification, and safe cohort sizes. We will continue to fight for what we need to ensure a safe and equitable transition, including planning time to transition to in-person learning, remote assignments for educators who need to stay remote, and safety committees to hold the District to standards we have agreed on. Please make sure you take the Bargaining Survey so we can gauge the importance of each of these outstanding issues.

Right now, there are lots of questions about what Governor Brown’s mandate will mean for PPS. We are trying to find answers, but one thing we know for sure is that we can’t bring students into classrooms without a plan, and that no plan will be successful without the input of the educators on the ground.

Teachers are not alone in feeling anger, anxiety, and confusion about the Governor’s directive. We are hearing from many parents and community members who share our demand to center safety and equity in plans for spring learning. 

That is why PAT members will continue to stand with parents and community groups fighting for an equitable return to the classroom, including at a rally at 3pm next Saturday at the BESC, organized by MxM Bloc along with concerned parents, students, teachers, and school staff.

We will have more information and next steps in the coming days, so stay tuned.  

This year has been stressful and exhausting for all of us. But we need to continue to stand together if we want to build the best path forward this spring for ALL our students. 

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

PAT PAC Endorsements for School Board Candidates

The Portland Association of Teachers Political Action Committee (PAT PAC) is proud to announce its endorsements for the May 18, 2021 school board election.

The PAT PAC endorsement panel consisted of 9 educators along with OEA staff. The panel considered the following criteria while making their endorsements: support for collective bargaining; commitment to educator voice; knowledge of education issues such as standardized testing and disrupted learning; commitment to racial equity; advocacy for strong, fully-funded public schools; and electability.

We look forward to working with these candidates to improve our schools, and better support our students and families.

Herman Greene, in Zone 4, is a long time resident and advocate in North Portland. He has strong ties to the Roosevelt community and supports public education. He works as Senior Pastor at the Abundant Life PDX Church.

Gary Hollands, in Zone 5, is a PPS alumnus and parent. He has deep ties to the North/Northeast Portland community as a business owner and an Executive Director of the Albina Sports Program. He has previously served on the MESD Board and founded Interstate Trucking Academy. 

Zone 6--No Recommendation

In this race, incumbent Julia Brim-Edwards is running against newcomers Max Margolis and Libby Glynn. Your PAT PAC board did not feel we could endorse any of these candidates. We remain concerned about the influence of large multinational corporations on Julia Brim-Edwards’ decisions as a School Board director. Max Margolis and Libby Glynn, both strong parent activists, have a good understanding of the problems of the school system, but do not yet have the experience needed to manage a city-wide campaign. Therefore, we are not able to make an endorsement in this race.

PAT PAC is funded entirely through member contributions, not through dues dollars. Get involved and support great candidates like these: Donate to the PAT PAC here.

Learn more about the PAT PAC here.

Portland Association of Teachers
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

Join LERC for the Racial Equity and Union Solidarity Series

March 31, 5:00–6:15 pm
Brown v Board of Education and the Backlash to Public Education

Gordon Lafer, Phd., LERC; Dr. Lorretta Johnson, Former AFT Secretary Treasurer; and Sherman Henry, LERC
Public interest in equitable education has been a lifetime challenge for public education. We will explore how Brown v. Board of Education has been undermined through various corporate privatization strategies like charter schools models. These charter schools models have drained funding away from taxpayers and have not produced promised outcomes from students. Sign-up here

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March 8th: NEA Webinar Opportunity on Hybrid Models

March 8, 7-8pm ET 

Hy-What? Teaching & Learning in (all kinds of) Hybrid Models  

This live panel of NEA teacher-leaders will discuss what works for them virtually, in-person, both at the same time, (a)synchronously, and everything in-between. These PK-13 educators will share strategies and reflect on the challenges and opportunities faced with their varied hybrid models of classroom instruction. 

https://www.mobilize.us/nea/event/376341/

Bargaining Brief- March 4, 2021

Dear PAT Colleagues,

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS yesterday (Part 1Part 2) to negotiate terms for a safe, stable, and equitable return to in-person education.  The session resulted in frank discussions which resulted in one key victory.  

 

PAT finally moved PPS to agree that simulcast is no longer a plan the District is intending to use for in-person education.  Instead, simulcast is a plan that will be used only if educators select it as the best option for their school.  The hundreds of PAT member emails sent to district leaders telling them why simulcast/concurrent learning is a bad educational model made a difference, and the issue now appears to be settled.  We would love to see the District return the cameras that they spent $1.5 million on, and instead use that money to truly modernize our classrooms and make sure our facilities are ready to provide greater indoor and outdoor in-person opportunities for students.  

 

Although this win was significant, PAT did not receive substantive responses to any of the new proposals presented to the District related to quality education and safe working conditions.

 

To begin with, your Team proposed a Safety Committee for each building, “to ensure that all of the provisions pertaining to health and safety in this agreement are in place.”  That committee would be made up of building administrators and PAT members approved by the Association who would evaluate all spaces and certify that the terms of the agreement were met. 

 

We also made a proposal which would guarantee that educator voice would be part of approving any in-person educational model.  Our proposed language states (among other things), “Professional educators and building administrators will select the instructional model for in-person instruction that best meets the student and family needs of their school community.  The selection within the building will be approved after a building vote.”  We believe that this language meets the District’s stated position that the models used in April will be building specific.  By having an equal professional educator and administrator voice in making that decision, we believe that the needs of families and students will actually be the guides for building plans, rather than purely PPS-institutional needs. 

 

The other proposal of major significance is that your PAT Team totally rejected the district proposal that educators and students would be required to clean high-touch surfaces between cohorts of students.  While PAT does not represent custodial staff, we have a difficult time understanding how the cleaning that is necessary to maintain a safe environment for students and educators can be done without hiring additional custodial staff.  Requiring educators and students to clean is not a solution.

 

Your PAT Team believes that through the use of building Safety Committees, professional educator voice in selecting the instructional model that is right for their school community, and common-sense protocols on cleaning in classrooms, we will be able to create a workable set of conditions to return to in-person instruction.  Those ideas, combined with earlier proposals for alternate assignments for educators with medical/family needs, paid leaves for those educators that are not able to return to any form of in-person instruction, access to childcare, adequate educator-directed time in the week, and all of the other safety and workload provisions we have proposed, will produce a fourth quarter where PAT members can truly meet student and educator needs for safe, stable, and equitable school communities. 

 

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Beating Apathy Training--Saturday, February 13th, 4:00-5:30 pm

Want to get better at organizing your fellow educators in your building but not sure where to start? How do we overcome fear, hopelessness, confusion, and division? The first step is talking to the people you work with to find out what they care about. Think about signing up for this essential training from the guidebook "Secrets of a Successful Organizer" and practice useful skills to unite your co-workers at your school and in your community. Register here.

Congratulations to Newly Elected PAT Leaders

Dear PAT Colleagues,

The ballots have been cast and counted. We are pleased to congratulate the individuals who have been elected to represent PAT members in various positions.

The new members of your PAT Executive Board, serving a two-year term beginning July 1, 2021, are:

  • Angela Bonilla, Instructional Specialist, Scott Elementary School
  • Tina Lamanna, 2nd Grade Teacher, Markham Elementary School
  • Beyoung Yu, ESL Teacher, Rosa Parks Elementary School
  • Shannon Foxley, Counselor, da Vinci Arts Middle School

These members are elected as your delegates to the July 2-6, 2021 National Education Association (NEA) Representative Assembly:

+  Greg Burrill

+  Shannon Foxley

+  Elizabeth Mayer

+  Joanne Shepard

+  Jacob Jonas-Closs

+  Vincent Chirimwami

+  Joe Rowe

+  David Scholten

+  Sirenna Palici

These members will join the group of previously-elected delegates to serve as PAT delegates to the spring 2021, 2022, and 2023 Oregon Education Association (OEA) Representative Assemblies:

+  Sara Daley

+  Greg Burrill

+  Ailien S. Tran

+  Elizabeth Mayer

+  Shannon Foxley

+  Diana Collins

+  Paula Dennis

+  Tina Lamanna

+  Sarah Clark

+  Mary Watkins

+  Carolyn Blum

+  Andre Alberti

+  Kate Chapman

+  Adama Goudiaby

+  Brenda Bokenyi

+  Barbara Macon

+  Elin Kordahl

+  Morgan Whitney

+  Myndie Good

+  Meghan Delwisch

+  Liz Mick

+  Bryan Fitzwater

+  Krista Ravengael

+  Patrick Stoudt

+  Jennifer Joyalle

+  Anna York

+  Margaret Walker-Byrne

 

Write-in candidates with two or more votes for NEA RA Delegate and OEA RA Delegate will be contacted by PAT in March. Please contact Nominations & Elections Committee Chair Ailien Tran if you have any questions ([email protected]).

Thank you to all PAT members who participated in our democratic process by running for office and/or casting a vote in this election!

 

Unassignments and Transfers for School Year 2021-2022

PAT Colleagues:

As PPS plans for next school year, changes in enrollment, funding, or programs may result in a reduction of staff in a particular building or program area.  If that occurs, your PAT/PPS contract (Article 18) provides a process for determining which educator(s) will be “unassigned” from their current worksite, as well as procedures for their transfer to another site/program.  

An unassignment does not mean that the educator loses a job at PPS.  It simply means they will be transferred and assigned to a different position. 

In general, the least senior educator licensed in the affected subject area will be unassigned.  There are some important exceptions:

  • The administrator must first ask for volunteers. Volunteers will be unassigned and transferred instead if they are appropriately licensed in the affected grade level or subject matter area (and are not on a Program of Assistance).
  • The administrator may request an exception to retain educators of color to maintain a racial balance of educators to students at the site.
  • The administrator may request an exception to maintain a gender balance of educators at the site.
  • The administrator may request an exception to retain an educator with bilingual or multilingual ability relevant to the assignment.

Unassigned educators are eligible to apply for vacant positions during the internal transfer process.  All unassigned educators in a subject area must be assigned before PPS may consider any outside applicants.

Find more information here: FAQ: Unassignments and Transfers, FAQ: Applying for Positions 

Here is the timeline:

  • PPS Informational Meeting for Unassigned Educators (details to follow) - March 18 & March 19, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
  • Internal Phase Vacancies Posted - Apply Now - March 29 - April 2
  • Interviews - April 5 - 7
  • Remaining Unassigned Educators Notified of Assignments - Mid-April
  • External Phase Opens – April 20

Find more information on our Know Your Contract page.

 

Special Bargaining Brief -February 25, 2021

Colleagues:

Today, February 25, 2021, was a date your PAT Team had agreed would be an extended bargaining session with PPS.  Yesterday we realized that continuing to meet with PPS while it actively ignored PAT member positions was a futile endeavor, and therefore we canceled the bargaining session.

In bargaining on the 22nd, PPS continued to suggest that the “simulcast/concurrent learning” instructional model was only one option for K-5 instruction this spring, and was simply being presented to show one idea.  Unfortunately, at the PPS School Board Meeting, the tone and comments during the presentation of the simulcast/concurrent learning model did not indicate that it was simply an idea.  The District’s $1.5 million purchase of camera equipment, completed before ever mentioning the concept of a simulcast hybrid model to PAT, appears to be another strong indication of their intentions to act unilaterally.  In addition, based on the data presented to our Team on Monday, PAT believes that the District’s highly flawed family interest survey data, as presented to the School Board on Tuesday, was a less than fully honest portrayal of the results. 

Your PAT Bargaining Team has been absolutely direct with PPS on multiple occasions, that 93% of the PAT membership believes the simulcast/concurrent learning model is terrible, and that the PAT Team would never accept such an approach.  In spite of this, PPS is pushing that exact plan without offering any alternatives.  We canceled today’s bargaining session because your Team will not allow PPS to ignore the clearly stated beliefs of the overwhelming majority of PAT professional educators.   

This afternoon, PAT Organizers, the PAT Bargaining Team, and PAT Leadership are meeting to plan our next steps.  Very soon you will receive a survey which we hope to have everyone complete, and your Building Organizer will reach out for other forms of member feedback related to the return to in-person instruction. 

Your PAT Bargaining Team follows the will of our members, and we will only take a position when we know what the majority of our members believe.  We look forward to hearing from all of you through our survey and the Building Organizers.

As always, we succeed in moving your interests forward when all of us stand together.

 

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President's Message--February 24th, 2021

This week, our Bargaining Team won a key victory on safety, but we seem to be on a collision course with the District on instruction and equity. 

KEY SAFETY VICTORY

The good news first. We have been fighting hard since August for safety measures that ensure that our return to school campuses will keep our students, educators, and families safe. We are getting very close to agreement on crucial terms of safety, including ensuring adequate ventilation in all our classrooms.

We continue to closely monitor the number of new COVID-19 cases in Multnomah county. Hopefully community transmission will continue to decline and we will be able to bring students and educators together safely on our school campuses this spring.

However, we must do that in a way that meets our students' most urgent social and emotional needs, without any further erosion to academic instruction. Despite the clear objections from our Bargaining Team and our membership, the District is doubling down on simulcast instruction, for grades K-12.

SIMULCAST IS NOT WHAT OUR STUDENTS DESERVE

As educators, we also know it is critical that any plans we make for the spring must center the needs of our most-impacted students and families. We must not exacerbate the inequalities created by this pandemic for so many of our students. 

For example, we’ve seen first hand how families of color in Multnomah county have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, even more than the aggregate data suggest. Despite this, PPS is justifying their simulcast plans with survey results that do not include the voices of the majority of our families of color, or of our families in Title I, CSI, and TSI schools.

Of course, we worry about students in CDL, especially those who struggle to stay engaged. According to the parent survey results that PPS presented at last night’s board meeting, “In-person Peer Interaction” is the greatest unmet need of students whose families completed the survey.

But that’s also why the District's plan is such a jarring contradiction. Simulcast is not a model that supports in-person peer interaction, and it does NOT meet our students’ academic or social-emotional needs.

For students who return to the classroom, they will be required to remain seated at desks for 2 hours at a time with their teacher’s attention divided between them and their peers watching from home, all while managing technology and enforcing student compliance with strict safety protocols.

For the students watching from home, they will lose the best of what CDL has provided-- the attention from, and interaction with, their teacher and other students during remote lessons. 

This is why 93% of PAT members agree that the Simulcast model does NOT meet the needs of students. 

A DIFFERENT PATH FORWARD

We know that the pandemic is not over, and staying safe is a non-negotiable. If new COVID-19 infections in our area start to increase again, remaining in CDL is the safest option for our students. If that is the case in April, we are prepared to continue remote learning for all. 

We also have reason to hope that by April our safety agreements, and the continued reduction in COVID-19 transmission, will create opportunities to finally see our students face-to-face. 

We need to make sure that in this best-case scenario, any plan for in-person learning centers safety, stability, and equity for our students, and that it is focused on our students’ greatest needs. In the final quarter of this unprecedented school year, we must not disrupt the best aspects of CDL, or trade off one students’ opportunity to be in-person, for another students’ opportunity to learn safely from home.

As the educators who work directly with students, we know what our students need, and what is possible within the constraints of the time and resources we have. This is why we need to be at the center of planning for any return to in-person learning.

So, please think about your own students. What has been going well in CDL that you wouldn’t want disrupted? What are your students’ greatest needs that are not being met in a remote environment? And how could we safely meet those needs this spring? 

In the coming weeks, we hope to hear from all of you. We plan on holding conversations in every building, as well as with parents and community members, to build a path forward rooted in our shared values of safety, stability, and serving ALL our students.