Materials from the Online Rep Assembly Meeting, April 14th, 2021:
- Presentation Slides to April 14th RA
- April 14th RA Agenda
- Minutes from March 10th RA
- E-Board Motions for April 7th Meeting
- Building Rep Elections:
- Contract Exception Form
- Unite Oregon Letter
- Advocacy Cadre Flow Chart
- PATPAC Endorsements
- PAT Scholarships for BIPOC Aspiring Educators
- SEIU Rally
- SEIU PTA Flyer
- 10-Minute Meeting Slides
- April Checklist for Building Reps
- Standing Rules for Virtual RA Meetings
- Electronic Motion Form for Virtual Meetings
- April 14th Advocate
- Recording of April 14th RA (to be uploaded soon)
This Friday, April 16th at 3:30pm, the Asian and Pacific Islander Month Planning Committee, will be hosting a community healing event for the Asian and Pacific Islander community.
If you are an educator who identifies as Asian, Pacific Islander, mixed, Hapa, multiracial, etc. you are welcome!
You are enough.
There is no gatekeeping--no one will ask "how" you qualify to be in the circle (though you can share how you identify if that feels good).
You are enough.
Join us and spread the word. Here is the zoom link to join.
We hope that you are doing well and are experiencing or preparing for a safe and positive return to the classroom with your students. We want you to know that we value you, we see you, and we are here to support you. There are a few awesome workshops and offerings we want to make sure you are aware of and have the opportunity to participate in, should you choose to do so.
OEA Sponsored Book Groups for BIPOC Participants ONLY
- Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School: A 6-week facilitated virtual learning community led by Diane Hicks to discuss the book by Mica Pollock. Participants will be provided with the book. Additional details on the event page. April 19-May 28, 2021, live sessions on Mondays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Registration is open! Open to BIPOC participants only.
- My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies: A 7-week facilitated virtual learning community led by Paula Dennis to discuss this book by Resmaa Menakem. Participants will be provided with the book. Additional details on the event page. April 12-May 28, 2021. Live discussions on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Registration is open! Open to BIPOC participants only.
Get reimbursed for your TSPC Licensure Fees!
The Oregon Legislature, through the Student Success Act, has authorized TSPC to mitigate costs associated with TSPC licensure and assessments for racially, ethnically, and/or linguistically diverse teacher and administrator candidates. If you have incurred an initial license or renewal expense (for example, fees paid in eLicensing to TSPC, fees paid to complete an ORELA or Praxis test) between the fiscal year of July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021, you may qualify for repayment. You can find further information regarding qualifications for the program, what is eligible for reimbursement, and application forms here: TSPC : Diversity License Expense Reimbursements : Financial Assistance
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.
If you are interested in learning more about why National Board Certification is referred to as the best professional development you will ever take and the "gold standard" for teaching, consider registering for one of the upcoming information sessions on April 7th and April 8th.
In addition to these opportunities for Educators fo Color only, please see our website for more upcoming events and opportunities, open to all members, including:
A VIRTUAL VISIT WITH DR. BETTINA LOVE, AUTHOR OF WE WANT TO DO MORE THAN SURVIVE.
Jacque Dixon and Nedra Miller, PAT Racial Equity Committee Co-Chairs
Portland Association of Teachers
April 14, 2021 from 5:00 -6:00 p.m. via Zoom. Free and open to the public. Register Here
"While the transition to hybrid is necessarily occupying our time and energy, this Virtual Site Visit with Dr. Love is an opportunity to breathe and ground ourselves in why we do this work: to ensure that all students, especially our underserved students, are provided an education that recognizes and values their unique attributes and sets the conditions for them to thrive in our schools and beyond.
This is also a critically important opportunity to cultivate culturally sustaining instructional practices, which is a key component of our High School Success Plan, Educator Essentials, and RESJ professional development goals."
BIPOC PAT Members: You are invited to join the following Virtual Book Studies, sponsored by OEA, and led by BIPOC OEA members. Please sign up at the links below!
Everyday Antiracism: Getting Real About Race in School: A 6-week facilitated virtual learning community led by Diane Hicks to discuss the book by Mica Pollock. Participants will be provided with the book. Additional details on the event page. April 19-May 28, 2021, live sessions on Mondays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Registration is open! Open to BIPOC participants only.
My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies: A 7-week facilitated virtual learning community led by Paula Dennis to discuss this book by Resmaa Menakem. Participants will be provided with the book. Additional details on the event page. April 12-May 28, 2021. Live discussions on Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Registration is open! Open to BIPOC participants only.
National Board Certification Information Sessions for BIPOC and Early Career OEA members!
- BIPOC Information Session Wednesday, April 7, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
- ECE Information Session Thursday, April 8, 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Have you ever wondered what was involved in pursuing National Board Certification, why you might want to do it at all, what supports are out there to help you to successfully complete it and where the money is going to come from? OEA members who are either BIPOC or early career (3-5 years) now have an opportunity to have most of the costs paid for through an NEA grant, get a Jump Start in the process, as well as on-going support and 1-1 coaching! Participate in either of these online information sessions to find out more. Get answers to your specific questions from Oregon National Board Teachers helping to lead this work!
We wanted to share some information regarding Safety Committees and Overage Claims.
Understanding COVID-Related Safety at Your School
Every school shall have a Safety Committee, with 1-2 PAT members appointed by members at your school.
- The safety committee will tour the building to ensure that all of the provisions on safety and health protections in the PAT-PPS MOU on returning to hybrid instruction are in place. The initial walk through for K-5 should have been done by March 19, 2021. Middle and High School Safety Committees should complete their walkthroughs prior to hybrid starting on April 19, 2021.
- Safety Committees should use the Building Environment Checklist for these tours, and to make sure all of the required supports are established in buildings.
- Make sure you know who is on your school’s safety committee. After the walkthrough, your safety committee members should inform your staff what the outcome was of the evaluation, and what steps were taken to address any issues.
Similarly, all in-person educators should use the Daily Classroom/Workspace Checklist everyday to ensure that they are working in a space that meets all of the safety requirements.
If the requirements are not met, this is the protocol:
- Notify your administrator/principal and building rep. Ask administrator for a timeline for resolution.
- If not resolved right away, contact your custodian.
- Contact [email protected]
- If safety concerns are still not met, the space should not be used for instruction.
MOU Section I.f. - “After student instruction begins, if a room does not meet the agreed upon safety protocol and changes cannot be made within a reasonable amount of time, the room will not be used for in-person instruction until safety conditions are met.”
Please then inform your building rep and your principal that you need a new space for instruction.
If, after following the steps above, your administrator is unable or unwilling to adhere to the MOU, please contact your UniServ Consultant and Area Superintendent.
If you have questions about these protocols, please come to the Advocacy Cadre Zoom meeting, Monday, April 5 at 5:00 pm, to go over this protocol and get your questions answered. You can also email questions or concerns to the Cadre at [email protected].
You can find the MOU, Safety Checklists, and more resources on our website.
Overage Payments for Second Semester
Article 8 in the 2019-2020 PAT Agreement has language that defines workload “thresholds” for class-size, teaching load, caseload, and the number of unique course preparations. PPS is required by this contract language to pay educators whose workload exceeds those thresholds that were reviewed and calculated by PPS between February 16 and March 2, 2021.
Staff receiving stipends should have received a separate check on the March payday. The type of stipend will be reflected on the check as “Class Overload Stipend” and “Over 3 Prep Stipend.”
If you did not receive the pay you anticipated, please submit those questions and any documentation to PPS immediately and a PPS HR representative will review your information and respond about whether or not they will make any corrections.
Overage for Educators working under a “4x4” Schedule in High Schools
With respect to overage payment for educators that work in high schools doing a temporary 4x4 schedule, we have major disagreements with the District’s implementation of our contract language.
While PPS believes the language in the CBA is based on case-loads and unique preparation numbers per-semester, PAT believes that the overages numbers in the contract are directly linked to year-long courses.
It is our belief that high school educators working under a 4x4 schedule may not have been paid the proper overage payments if overage payments were not based on 160-student per year threshold. Further, we believe the threshold of “3 unique preparations” applies to the number of preparations over the course of the year.
PAT already has an “overage” grievance filed last year regarding seven different types of overage violations. One of the PAT positions is that the District failed to pro-rate student overage numbers by the number of courses an educator teaches. That grievance is currently in settlement talks with a state mediator. In addition, PAT filed a new grievance to correct the overages we believe resulted from the 4x4 schedule.
For now, please fill out the PPS form if you believe you are owed overage payments that you did not receive.
We have had a lot of questions about the schedule for 6th through 8th grade students at K-8 schools. Here are some clarifications:
- K-5th grade will follow the elementary schedule, and 6th-8th grade will follow the middle school schedule. (You can see the PPS example middle school schedule here.)
- That means, all 6th-8th grade students should have all their classes remotely in the morning, and can attend hybrid in-person instruction in the afternoon during the “asynchronous” time.
- At a K-8 school, the timing of the afternoon in-person session for middle school students should match the timing for the K-5 afternoon in-person session, so that students in all grades can access transportation together.
Herman Greene, in Zone 4, is a long time resident and advocate in North Portland. He is a father of four PPS graduates, and his daughter is a Roosevelt teacher (and PAT Member!) At the core of his work is his passion for equity, unity and hope for his community. He believes in the power of public education, and at the sametime understands the disparities of Black and Brown children and other marginalized and undeserved youth in our schools. He will be a powerful and needed voice on the PPS School Board. Learn more here.
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. Gary is a staunch advocate of CTW, and envisions a school system that supports the whole child – with healthy social environments, with diverse and varied learning opportunities, with safe, welcoming places, and mentorship. Learn more here.Continue reading
*After Event Edit* For those unable to attend, this seminar is now available on our YouTube Channel.
Are you a mid-career educator looking to check-in and get more information on retirement planning? As a benefit to our active members, Portland Association of Teachers is excited to host another Financial Planning Seminar.
We hope to see you there.
Portland Association of Teachers
Join OEA member leaders of all levels of experience from across the state for an ongoing series of learning leadership opportunities. All courses are presented by OEA staff on Zoom on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 PM. Register HERE
- April 28, Identifying Organizing Issues: Members aren't apathetic! Learn how to ask the right questions and take action in a meaningful way.
- May 12, Conflict Styles and Conflict Resolution: Identify how you behave during conflict and recognize conflict styles in others. Use this knowledge to analyze and understand conflict resolution strategies.
- May 26, Listening, Asking Questions, and the Collaborative Approach to Problem Solving: An experienced leader knows how to listen deeply, asks open-ended questions, and uses problem solving strategies that ensure all voices are heard.
- June 2, Becoming an Anti-Racist Educator: Learn actionable strategies to stand up for your students and colleagues, and advocate for equitable outcomes for all!
Below is a message from Joseph Cartino with SEIU 503, asking for PAT members to show support in pressuring the district to settle a fair contract for their members.
See the Facebook event here. Please wear your PAT Blue!
Tuesday, March 30th, 6pm
BESC, 501 N. Dixon St.
Nutrition service workers and custodians have gone above and beyond during this pandemic to keep the buildings functioning and feed the community, but they haven't been respected, protected and paid.
It's time for Portland Public Schools to do the right thing and settle a fair contract with their essential workers, and collaborate with staff, parents, and students to ensure the return to in-person instruction will be successful.
Hazard Pay: For nutrition service workers, the lowest paid PPS group, and the only one who’ve had their hours and wages cut during this pandemic. This majority female workforce has put themselves at risk to feed the community and deserve respect.
Custodians: Enough Union staff to clean and disinfect buildings. PPS’s current “Moderately Dingy” standard is not good enough, and hiring contractors is not the solution.
Thanks for your support.
Portland Association of Teachers
PAT condemns anti-Asian violence and stands with our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, colleagues, and their families. Please read the complete statement below, written by Karen Liao and Tiffany Koyama Lane, Project Leaders of PAT's upcoming Asian and Pacific Islander American History Month.
Then, please take some time with the accompanying resources to find ways to take action now, and on an on-going basis.
To Our Community of Educators:
The Portland Association of Teachers condemns anti-Asian violence and stands with our Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, colleagues, and their families. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an exponential rise in anti-Asian violence. A recent study revealed that hate crimes decreased overall by 7 percent in 2020, but “those targeting Asian people rose by nearly 150 percent.” Stop AAPI Hate’s newest report recorded 3,795 anti-Asian hate incidents between March 2020 and February 2021. Over 500 were recorded in 2021 alone.
In one weekend in January 2021, here in Portland, 11 Asian-owned businesses were targeted and vandalized. There are endless accounts of Asian Americans being verbally and physically attacked going through everyday life: taking a walk, grocery shopping, eating at restaurants. Some of these hate crimes are reported, but many are not. Though this is happening nationwide, there is scant mainstream media coverage of these attacks, though fear has been roiling through AAPI communities. Let’s be clear: Anti-Asian violence is not new. It has only been heightened by recent xenophobia and racist rhetoric such as “the China virus” and the “Wuhan flu,” which has blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on Asians. The United States has a long-established history of racializing disease, particularly against Asians. The Chinese community was accused of spreading the bubonic plague, which was seen as a “Chinese” disease. Chinatowns were burned; Chinese people were quarantined.
Our AAPI students, teachers, staff, and their families feel vulnerable. The PPS enrollment demographics for 2020 by race and ethnicity report that 6.2% of our students identify as Asian, 4.9% identify as multi-racial Asian/White, and 0.8% identify as Pacific Islander. Our own Asian students and community members are racially-targeted on a daily basis-- facing harmful stereotypes like the “model minority” and “perpetual foreigner”. Some deal with the generational trauma of immigration, as families came to the U.S. seeking safety from imperialism, war, and political and religious persecution. Shame and embarrassment around language and culture stigmas limit student self-confidence and engagement. Many regularly endure the pain of cultural appropriation, exoticization, facial slurs, fetishization, and microaggressions from non-Asian peers, teachers, and school staff. Our students, teachers, and staff deserve to feel safe in and out of the classroom.
PAT strongly denounces the xenophobic rhetoric, abuse, harrassment, assaults, and murders of Asians while acknowleding how intersecting identities such as class, immigration and citizenship status, and gender affect those who are targeted. Standing in solidarity with our AAPI community needs to be more than words of kindness and support. We must take action swiftly. Please review this Google Doc for ways to take action now and on an ongoing basis.
Karen Liao and Tiffany Koyama Lane,
PAT Asian and Pacific Islander American History Month Project Leaders
Portland Association of Teachers
Hello PAT Members,
We want to take a moment to thank all of you for the amazing job you’ve done to continue educating and supporting students during these unprecedented and challenging times. We also want to again thank the amazing work of the PAT Bargaining Team (Steve Lancaster, Emy Markewitz, Francisca Alvarez, Andre Hawkins, Charity Powell, Thea Keith, and John Berkey). Without this team and the collective power of over 3,500 PAT members we could not have reached an agreement that included HEPA Air Purifiers, enshrining the requirement of 6ft of social distancing in learning spaces, adequate educator directed time, and so much more.
We know this is important to our members. Over 3,000 of you attended our All-Member Meeting to present the Tentative Agreement and to answer questions. While we were able to answer many of your questions, we could not get to all of them. Therefore, we have continued to add questions to our FAQ document. Please find the link to our Updated FAQ and some other clarifications:
- Updated FAQ
- Tentative Agreement
- Our team is continuing to review hundreds of questions from you. If you have any more questions, please send them to [email protected].
- Please remember that BALLOTS MUST BE SUBMITTED NO LATER THAN 4:00 p.m. TODAY, THURSDAY, MARCH 18, to be counted.
Here are some important time-sensitive clarifications:
PK-5 Planning and Preparation Days
There was an inconsistency in the language of the TA that does not meet the agreed upon intent of PAT and PPS. Here is a clarification:
Students will continue to receive some asynchronous instruction during professional development/ preparation days, provided by the office of teaching and learning.
Planning/preparation days schedule for PK-5 Specialists:
Friday, March 19
- No Specials for PK, K, 1
- Specials as normal for 2-5
Monday March 29- Wednesday March 31
- No Specials for PK-5
Thursday April 1
- No Specials for 2-5
- Specials for PK, K, 1, AM Cohort
Friday April 2
- No Specials for 2-5
- Specials for PK, K, 1, PM Cohort
- Safety Committees in every building will ensure spaces are suitable for students and teachers, with enforceable safety standards.
- By March 19, 2021 Safety Committees that include at least two PAT members, shall tour all K-5/K-8 buildings to ensure that all provisions of the agreement pertaining to health & safety are in place.
- MS/HS Safety Committees will tour their schools prior to student occupation of these spaces.
- Please use the following Safety Checklists:
If you have a need to work remote only that has not already been accommodated, follow these steps:
- Tell your building admin about the desire and reason to work remotely, based on a medical reason for the member or someone in their household. If there are remote positions at the school, the admin will prioritize moving that member into one. The District must make every reasonable effort to effect the availability of positions.
- SIMULTANEOUSLY, complete the PPS Educator Preference and Request for Reassignment form by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 19.
- If you are not provided a remote assignment within your building, then HR will review the request made by the educator through the centralized form and will try to place the person in a remote assignment if possible.
If no remote assignment is available:
- Apply for FMLA/OFLA leave, if eligible.
- Apply for (and be granted) unpaid leave if you require one.
Portland Association of Teachers
Dear PAT Educator,
For almost all of us, this has been the most challenging year of our educational career. While we are so excited to finally see our students next month, we know that reorganizing every aspect of how we teach, again, as the new hybrid model is being built, and keeping everyone safe as the pandemic continues, will be an incredibly difficult task.
While we certainly did not choose these conditions, our union is committed to making sure we do everything we can to support our members through it, and to make sure that safety, stability, and equity for students and educators guide our work. Since August, our PAT Bargaining Team has been negotiating over safety protections and how to teach given the arrival of a vaccine and the welcome decline in COVID cases. Early this morning, we reached a tentative agreement (TA) on terms for beginning in-person hybrid instruction in our schools.
The Governor’s Executive Order seemed designed to circumvent our bargaining process and force schools to reopen, ready or not, on March 29th. Nevertheless, our Bargaining Team was unwavering in its insistence that educators have the time to properly prepare for and serve our students, that we have enforceable safety language, and that we protect our colleagues who are still vulnerable to COVID-19, or who live with people who are.
The agreement we reached, and that we will bring to you for approval this week, will not make this spring easy. But our Team has been able to negotiate terms that honor the priorities of our members. I cannot overstate the commitment and dedication of our PAT Bargaining Team throughout this entire process, so a big thank you to Steve Lancaster, Emy Markewitz, Francisca Alvarez, Andre Hawkins, Charity Powell, Thea Keith, and John Berkey.
This week we will bring this agreement to you for ratification. Here is an outline of the process:
- Monday evening: PAT Executive Board reviews Tentative Agreement, and makes recommendation to the PAT Membership.
- Tuesday, 4:30: All-Member Meeting. The PAT Bargaining Team will present the Tentative Agreement and answer questions. (REGISTER HERE)
- Tuesday-Thursday: PAT Members vote via electronic ballot on whether to ratify the TA.
- Thursday evening: PPS School Board votes on whether to ratify the Tentative Agreement, if it is approved by PAT members.
We look forward to sharing the complete agreement with you on Tuesday.
I know many of you have been following bargaining closely, and already have a good idea of what is in the agreement. Here are some important areas where we reached agreement over the weekend:
Safety Committees in every building with enforceable safety standards, to ensure spaces are suitable for students and teachers, including:
- 6 feet of space between persons in all classrooms
- Proper ventilation, with HEPA filtration systems in every space where students meet with educators
- Access to respiratory protection and other PPE where needed
- Student screening protocols
- On-site rapid testing for students and educators
Planning days before students begin:
- 5 days for PK-1 educators, with students starting hybrid on April 1 or 2
- 5 days for grades 2-5 educators, with students starting hybrid on April 5
- 3 days for grades 6-12 educators, with students starting hybrid on April 19
Weekly educator-directed minutes that are significantly more than called for in the collective bargaining agreement:
- 810 minutes a week for PK-5th grade educators
- 905 minutes a week for 6-8th grade educators
- 900 minutes a week for High School educators
- Remote assignments prioritized for educators with a medical need, or who live with someone with a medical need. The District will make every reasonable effort to effect the availability of the positions.
- Leave options for the duration of the school year for educators who otherwise cannot return to in-person instruction.
- Childcare stipend
- The ability for educators to work remotely when they are not providing in-person instruction.
Portland Association of Teachers
Fellow PAT Members,
At approximately 12:30 AM Monday, your PAT Team and the District reached a tentative agreement on the return to in-person education under a Hybrid model.
The process of arriving at a full COVID-19 MOU began in late July of 2020, and we finally have completed that process. Our team will meet with the PAT Executive Board to present the agreement, and as quickly as possible, we will present the agreement to the entire membership. If possible, members will have the opportunity to review and discuss the agreement during the normal staff meeting time on Tuesday afternoon, but that must be agreed to by PPS HR.
We want to thank the almost 400 members who stayed with us via YouTube on a Sunday until late in the evening for all of the support. The emails so many of you sent, and the rally and organizing that so many of you took part in made it possible to move the District to the agreement we now have.
We look forward to presenting the terms for ratification as quickly as we can produce the materials and prepare the presentation.
Fellow PAT Colleagues:
Your Bargaining Team met again with PPS on Thursday, March 11 (Part 1, Part 2), and in a small group meeting on Wednesday, March 10, 2021. The tone of the two meetings differed greatly, but the topics covered give both teams the direction towards a joint agreement.
On Wednesday, PPS and some PAT Team members discussed a wide range of topics with the goal of both teams being ready for Thursday’s full-team bargain. Although the two teams differed greatly on some issues, we did reach a common conceptual understanding on childcare options for PAT members, the development of Safety Committees in each building, member access to alternate assignments if individual circumstances require it, and the need for building staff to work with administrators to develop plans that suit their particular student and family needs.
However, on Thursday the tone abruptly changed because PPS would not move on two key issues. First, PPS and your PAT Team strongly disagreed on the amount of planning and preparation time required to have students return to in-person instruction. PAT stated that educators need a minimum of five days of PD/building/room/office prep to be ready for students to return to in-person instruction. PPS believes that the maximum amount of meeting and planning time for students to return is three days. Having students begin in-person learning on Thursday April 1st, as opposed to the following Monday, places an unacceptable and unnecessary burden on educators to ensure the safe and successful transition for students back into our buildings with a mere 72 hours of time to accomplish a monumentally complex task.
Our position is also consistent with Beaverton’s recent agreement, which begins to phase students back in starting on April 5th .
The second area of contention revolved around the official safety guidelines that will be followed for the remainder of this school year. PPS contended that they wish to have the ability to change the implementation of safety precautions whenever the Ready Schools Safe Learners document is updated by the ODE, without returning to the bargaining table. Your Bargaining Team insisted that the terms of the MOA we are currently negotiating should concretely delineate the safety conditions that will prevail for the remaining two months of this school year, allowing staff and families to fully understand the conditions in which they will teach and learn. Safety issues are a mandatory subject of bargaining under Oregon law and your PAT Team would never agree to allow the District to make unilateral changes to safety conditions without obtaining the consent of professional educators through the bargaining process.
We encourage members to tune in to bargaining when possible this weekend. The two teams are scheduled to meet on Saturday and on Sunday from 9 AM until whenever it takes to get an agreement.
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.
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.
- A 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 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.
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
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.
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.