Black Lives Matter in Schools: Curriculum Fair

Join Teaching for Change and Howard University’s School of Education for a virtual curriculum fair featuring workshops, keynote speakers, and time for educators to learn more about the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action, taking place February 1-5, 2021. This virtual event is free for educators and takes place on January 30th from 8:00am-10:30am. Register here for this awesome opportunity-  this might fill up fast, so register soon! 

If you are interested in planning for Black History Month and Black Lives Matter Week of Action/Year of Purpose with the Racial Equity Committee and the Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee, please fill out this interest form. 

OEA Winter Retreat for Early Career Educators--January 30th, 2021

For the third consecutive year, OEA will be hosting a Winter Recharge retreat for aspiring educators and early career educators. This is an event tailored to the needs of aspiring educators and professionals in the first few years of their career.  

This year, the event will be held virtually in a new, more flexible format on January 30th, 2021, with content offerings available from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  

This is an opportunity to network with educators across the state in roles of mutual support, and delve into professional development opportunities which best suit your current role and goals for your career in education. This is one of many professional development supports that OEA offers its members. Please check out the OEA website for additional opportunities.  

For more information and to register for the Winter Retreat please click here

Upcoming Events List

The PAT office and Advocacy Cadre will be closed Monday, January 18th to observe Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Watch “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” A Broadcast Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., Monday, January 18, 2021

January Committees Meeting, RSVP Here

  • Substitute, Jan. 20, 4:30-6:30pm
  • Advocacy, *Re-scheduled* Jan. 21, 4:30-6:30pm
  • Membership, Jan. 21, 4:30-5:30pm
  • Legislative, Jan. 21, 5:00-7:00pm
  • IPD, *Re-scheduled* Jan. 22, 4:30-6:30pm
  • Racial Equity, Jan. 27, 4:30-6:30pm 
  • SJCO, Jan. 27, 4:30-6:30pm

See the PAT Calendar for more

Bargaining Brief- January 12, 2021

PAT Colleagues:

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team was able to reach final agreement on language regarding work under Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) conditions.  As we will mention in the Advocate later today, we did all we could to find a way to protect the safety of PAT members who volunteer to serve students in a LIPI setting, and to enable PAT members to serve distinct groups of students who have specific needs.

 

(Links to view the bargaining sessions from January 6- Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5- and January 12- Part 1Part 2Part 3.)

 

The ten-point Agreement for LIPI Safety Conditions (view here) contains significant guarantees for PAT members.  The agreement requires the District to provide professional development on safety protocols prior to the start of LIPI, and that “only professional educators who volunteer will provide LIPI.”  Those two elements mean that no PAT member can be forced to provide LIPI or be punished/discriminated against for not being willing to provide LIPI.  In addition, the agreement holds that an educator must be able to review the workspace that will be used for LIPI, and that once LIPI begins, an educator can essentially ‘un-volunteer’ if they do not feel safe or if safety conditions change.   

 

The agreement also specifically states that even if a room can accommodate twenty students, an educator, in consultation with their building administrator, may divide the group into “sub cohorts.” This means that an educator can evaluate and determine the best way to serve the students, and the building administrator and educator can collaborate on how to make the educator’s ideas work. 

 

Finally, if an educator who volunteers to provide LIPI is working with a student(s) who cannot wear a mask, the educator can request and receive KN95 (or equivalent) masks, face shields, protective garments, and gloves. 

 

This agreement empowers educators to be in charge of their working conditions and provides some much needed support for students. 

 

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Joint Letter to Gov. Brown from Union Presidents

Sent to PAT Members 1/7/2021: See the PDF here.

Dear Educator,

First, I want to acknowledge that the violence and disruption of the peaceful transition of power in Washington DC yesterday has been rightfully pulling our attention away from "normalcy" this week. Educators play an important role in helping students process these events and helping students learn about this moment in our nation's history - thank you.

Meanwhile, conversations across the state continue about the appropriate timeline to safely open schools for in-person instruction. 

I wanted to share the attached letter, regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and returning to in-person instruction, from the presidents of the Portland Association of Teachers, the Beaverton Education Association, the Salem Keizer Education Association, the Hillsboro Education Association, and the Eugene Education Association. The text of the letter is below.

Elizabeth Thiel, PAT President
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

 

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Unemployment Info Session for PAT Substitutes- January 7, 4-5:15pm

Are you a substitute educator struggling to navigate the Oregon Unemployment Insurance process?

On Thursday, January 7th, from 4:00-5:15PM, We have an Oregon Employment Department presenter who will give PAT substitute members a brief presentation and a Q & A session in which members and union leaders can ask questions.

Register for this important seminar here.

While the presenter cannot resolve issues with individual claims, they can answer any questions about OED policies, procedures, and regulations, including the best way to get help with a claim.

This webinar will accommodate 500 people, so be sure to register today. The seminar will be recorded and sent to those who are interested but cannot attend.

We hope to see you there.

Bargaining Brief- December 11, 2020

PAT Colleagues:

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team is happy to announce that on Friday, December 11, 2020 (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), we made significant progress with PPS towards finalizing an agreement regarding Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI). The Agreement guarantees that educators have autonomy in determining how to carry out Limited In-Person Instruction. 

 

Though NOT in signed form, the discussion led to verbal agreements as follows:

1) Guaranteeing that LIPI instruction will be provided by educators on a voluntary basis.  If the district cannot find a volunteer from the regularly employed PAT membership, PPS will open the positions to PAT substitute educators. 

2) Recognizing the added workload on educators who do both LIPI and regular on-line instruction. Volunteers who agree to provide LIPI during teacher-directed time in their regular schedule will be paid at their individual per-diem hourly rate for all lost teacher-directed time plus for an additional hour per week for time spent planning LIPI sections.

3) Guaranteeing that educators who volunteer can rescind their volunteer offer if they do not feel safe once they inspect the space provided for LIPI, or if they feel that the time required or safety issues are too great to continue. 

 

What helped the two teams make such quick progress was the presentation of the PAT’s COVID-19 LIPI Interests survey results.  It was clear to both teams that most PAT members believe that the workload and safety concerns related to in-person instruction prohibit large-scale LIPI activities. 

 

Your team and the PPS team agreed that the state’s cap of twenty students in a LIPI cohort could be divided up however the volunteer educator feels provides for safety, student needs, and pedagogical efficacy.  For example, if a classroom has an in-person capacity of 14 students (35 square-feet per student), the professional educator could divide the two-hour time period of LIPI into two groups of 7 students, with one hour for each group.

 

The two bargaining teams are so close to agreement on language that they will exchange proposals via email in order to speed up the process. 

 

Unfortunately, we did not have time to address the PAT proposals that would guarantee adequate support for families and communities. (View PAT’s Permissive Community Interest Proposal here.) While the PAT team originally put forward a version of these proposals back in August, we provided the District with a newer version of them the day before bargaining on December 11.  Our proposals include adding dedicated staff teams to consistently support students whose needs are not being met by CDL, providing physical materials to students who need them, and providing communications and supports to families in their preferred language.  PAT continues to believe that supporting our students and families is vital to making distance learning more successful. We will address those proposals when we return from winter break.

 

 

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Bargaining Re-Opening/LIPI Survey Results

Brief sent to PAT membership, December 13, 2020

Good Morning,

The PAT Bargaining Team will be meeting with the District again today to continue discussions from 12:15 to 4:15PM. Please tune in on the PAT YouTube channel to watch the live stream of this meeting. 

In addition to today's bargaining, we have the results and demographics of the COVID/LIPI survey for you to review. We will be sharing this data with the District today in bargaining, but we wanted you to see your colleagues' responses, if you wish. 
The live stream will be available to view on our YouTube channel later as part of the “PAT-PPS Negotiations 2020” playlist.

In Solidarity,

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

President's Message

Dear Educators,

2020 is drawing to a close, but this year has marked our lives forever. 

It was almost a year ago that we began hearing the first news of a dangerous new virus. And Friday, March 13th was the last time we saw our students face-to-face in our classrooms. 

Over the past nine months we have re-invented our practices and built new ways to engage our students and families— all during a national reckoning on race and while grieving the loss of over 275,000 beloved community members across the country.

Throughout all this, our union has relentlessly worked to support our members, to center educator voice in decision-making, and to advocate for a more just and equitable school system and society. 

And your passion and commitment to our common goals is clear. Despite the obstacles that social-distancing has presented, we have record participation in our Rep Assemblies, committee meetings, and member-led projects.

This winter break has never been more needed or more deserved. Please take time to refresh and recharge, and celebrate the coming of a new year.

There is much work ahead as we navigate an intensifying pandemic, prepare for our eventual re-entry to our classrooms, and attempt to leverage this moment to address the systemic inequities in our schools and communities laid bare by this crisis. 

And in the closing weeks of 2020, I know you’ll make the most of current opportunities to support your students and colleagues, lend your perspective to decision-makers at ODE, and get more involved with our union. 

Your vision, wisdom, and commitment— in solidarity with students, communities, and workers fighting for the same values— are the force that will make 2021 a year of needed change.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

PAT Office and Advocacy Cadre Closed for the Holidays

Currently, the PAT Advocacy Cadre meets with building representatives and members every Monday night from 5:00-6:30 p.m. to help members with their contract questions. This year, the Cadre Zoom drop in hours will be closed from December 21st and will reopen on Monday, January 4th. We encourage all building representatives to come to the Cadre Zoom hours to discuss issues in your buildings and get support on enforcing our contract in our schools.

The PAT office will also be closed from December 21st through January 1st. PAT staff will return January 4th.

ODE/OEA Forum: Oregon Ethnic Studies Standards

In the summer of 2020, thousands of people signed a petition to require the teaching of the racial history of Oregon. At the same time, the Oregon Department of Education was completing work on a set of ethnic studies standards. Oregon is now on track to be the first state to require the teaching of Ethnic Studies Standards for all students K-12. These standards are targeted for adoption in the 2021-2022 school year. 

Join OEA members and the public from all around the state to get an informed preview of the new Oregon Ethnic Studies Standards in one of the upcoming forums taking place in the next couple of months. We need your feedback to make these standards as powerful, relevant, and doable as possible! These forums will also provide an opportunity to gather in grade level or constituency groups to provide more robust feedback. It is recommended that all participants take a glance at the standards ahead of time if you can. Choose among the following dates: 

  • December 10, 2020
  • January 6, 2021
  • January 11, 2021

Register now to hold your spot. Take an advanced peek at the standards.

 

Reminder: Nominations for PAT and OEA Elections are Open

PAT is a democratic organization, and our leaders are elected by you and all our members. Our elections are held via electronic ballot in February. This year there are open positions for the following: 

  • PAT Executive Board Director-at-Large (4 seats)
  • OEA RA Delegate (approximately 30 seats) Nominate yourself here
  • NEA RA Delegate (approximately 26 seats, 9 of which are funded to travel)

Any PAT member in good standing may run for elected position. Nominations for these positions are now open, and will close in January. Learn more, and find online nomination forms on our website. Contact [email protected] with any questions about these positions.

Overage Payments

Overage Payments for First 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 October 19, 2020 and November 2, 2020.

Staff receiving stipends should have received a separate check on the November payday. The type of stipend will be reflected on the check as “Class Overload Stipend” and “Over 3 Prep Stipend.”

Overage pay for the second semester will be calculated on Monday, February 15, 2021. 

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 under Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL), we have major disagreements with the District’s implementation of our contract language. 

PPS believes that the CBA is clear, and that the language directly states that the payments are based on numbers per-semester. Since it is 160 for semester 1, and 160 for semester 2, PPS believes that they don’t have to pay any overage.

PAT believes that the overages numbers in the contract are directly linked to year-long courses.  Since that is the case, and since the District converted year-long cases to semester-long courses, we believe the 160 number for HS overage must be reduced to 80.  

It is our belief that high school educators working under a 4x4 schedule were not paid the proper overage payments based on a prorated 80-student threshold. PAT already has an “overage” grievance filed last year regarding prorating student overage numbers by the number of courses an educator teaches. That grievance is currently in settlement talks with state mediators scheduled to join the discussion in January. Depending on the outcome of those talks, PAT will apply the new understanding to this year’s 4x4 schedule, or PAT will file a new grievance to correct this violation.

Professional Learning Communities Under CDL

Professional educators in each building now have a voice in what happens in the many PLC meetings that PPS is requiring this year.  

Through negotiations pertaining to working conditions under CDL, your bargaining team was able to get PPS to agree that all PLCs will have half of the agenda for PLCs developed with input from the building administrators and the building’s instructional leadership team (ILT). The other half of the agendas will be determined through mutual agreement with the administration and the professional educators in each PLC meeting.  

If your PLC agendas are still being dictated by your building administrator, refer to the signed agreement and ensure that there is professional-educator voice shaping the work in the meetings.  

Finally, remember that each educator has 950 minutes of individual educator-directed time. PLC meetings do not count as individual teacher time. Check to make sure your building is in compliance, and if not, talk to your principal about changing the schedule, and have your building rep contact the PAT office.  

You can see the TA’d agreement language on our website.

Solidarity with Oregon Nurses- Join ONA Nurses’ Info Picket at OHSU

December 17th starting at noon @ OHSU Hospital

Nurses are on the frontlines of the global pandemic, taking care of people with COVID. ONA nurses are currently advocating for COVID safety protections, including a review of personal protective equipment, worker-voice in safety decisions, and paid leave after high-risk exposures. 

ONA/AURN represents 2,800 nurses throughout OHSU. Nurse union leaders bring the patients' voice to hospital administration by advocating for high standards like contact tracing/testing, safe quarantine, staffing to acuity, and reasonable compensation for their ongoing sacrifice. Currently, OHSU is refusing to commit to essential COVID safety protections. OHSU has over a billion dollars in savings and is the most profitable hospital in the state. Nurses are picketing the hospital for their own, as well as their patients’ and our community’s, safety!

If your schedule permits, please join nurses, labor leaders, and legislators to stand with OHSU nurses, Thursday, December 17th at 12:00 pm. ONA is committed to social distancing, mask wearing, and will provide hand sanitizer.

You can learn more about what OHSU nurses are fighting for, and RSVP here.

Watch “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” A Broadcast Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr., Monday, January 18, 2021

PAT is a proud sponsor of the 36th annual Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, JrGreat American Hero and World Citizen, presented by World Arts Foundation Inc. 

This retrospective of Dr. King's legacy will be highlighted with dances, songs, and speeches. It will also spotlight those in our local, national, and global communities and leaders continuing his work. 

Please join us on January 18th, 2021 from 12:00pm-5:00pm for this broadcast.

Responding to the impact of COVID-19, this virtual production has been expanded to multiple platforms and will be available on: www.worldartsfoundation.org, Open Signal, KBOO 90.7 FM, XRAY 107.7 FM, YouTube, Facebook and Twitch.

Please see the event's press release and flyer for more information.

Instruction and Professional Development Committee: CDL Survey Update

Based on some helpful feedback on our survey data collection methods, we are rethinking how we are conducting it. To avoid self selection bias, we will be choosing random PAT members and asking these people to complete the (very short) survey once a month. However, in order to assure that we are hearing from a truly representative sample, we will first establish categories (such as K - 5, CTE, or Learning Center) and then choose a random group from there. If you are selected, you will receive an email with more explanation.

But because we know that many of you have important things to say, we will continue to send out a separate survey to our general membership. This survey will be exactly the same but will be linked to a different form/spreadsheet.

Supporting Our English Language Learners

We have heard serious concerns from ELL educators about exiting students from services since the physical closure of schools. Since the spring, our ELL students have been unable to take the English Proficiency Assessment (ELPA), which under ODE rules, is the only way students are able to move to the next level or exit out.

This has huge repercussions for students and educators. As an example, one educator reported having 43 students on their caseload who should have been exited. Instead, they were added to the new students that that educator has this year. As a result, their caseloads were off the charts and the students who were not able to exit were required to take an ESL class instead of Art, Band, Tech Ed, etc.

The ELPA testing window is January through March. It is our understanding that the Oregon Department of Education is recommending that educators should give the assessment to students in person and to socially distance, following the ODE’s guidance on “limited in-person instruction.” Our educators were clear that this is not possible or respectful of the students or their families. COVID infection rates are much higher in communities of color compared to their white counterparts. Why would the state even ask to put our students and educators in harm’s way?

At the recent PAT/PPS Instructional Program Council (IPC), the District agreed that this is very problematic. The District and PAT educators are forming a group to present a better solution to ODE that best meets our students’ needs. Stay tuned…

State Testing During CDL? Oregon is Seeking a Waiver and Wants Your Input

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) plans to apply for a stateside waiver from giving the Smarter Balanced Assessment for the 2020-21 school year.  We look forward to working with the Biden administration to change many of these ludicrous decisions.  

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) has been strongly advocating on our behalf. In a letter to ODE, OEA President John Larson wrote: 

“We can do better by Oregon students and use this opportunity to truly take steps to end the systemic inequity that has long been present in education. The pandemic, the racial and social unrest in the country, and the economic upheaval hitting vulnerable families has shone a bright spotlight on those inequities. Now is the time to take action at the root of these inequities. It is not the time to continue to simply measure the outcomes of those inequities, as statewide summative tests have done for the past 20 years.” You can read the full letter here.

As it prepares to submit the application for this waiver, ODE has requested input from the education community. You can submit letters of support to ODE before December 15th. You can use both the OEA Letter of Support and the attached talking points as tools to help you in drafting these letters. Submit your feedback to [email protected].

Grants for Students in Need: Support the OEA Foundation and Access Funds for Students

When Oregon students wake up and head to school, things look different this year. But one thing hasn’t changed: our students living in shelters, struggling with poverty, navigating the foster care system or parental illness come to school with a few less resources than other students. That’s where the OEA Foundation can step in. A new winter jacket, waterproof boots, personal hygiene products – these are the types of basic and essential needs our students have that the Foundation covers. If you have a student who needs extra support to cover the basics, consult the complete OEA Foundation guidelines today and apply with the easy online application.  

If you are able, we invite every OEA member to give through payroll deduction, even just $1 per month to the Foundation – 100% of every dollar donated goes to support Oregon public school students. 

Your End of Year Pay Stub Helps When You File Your Taxes

Please save your last paycheck of the year to track your deductions. This year, you can deduct up to $300 in charitable donations from your taxes, even if you do not itemize your taxes. If you have not already donated $300 this year to non-profits, please consider doing so by December 31st! 

Your final pay stub of the year will show you the year-to-date deductions in your deductions column. It will show your charitable contributions if you donate to the OEA Foundation or other charitable organizations.

It will also show your annual total for any political contributions to the PAT-PAC or OEA-PAC. Political contributions in Oregon are eligible for a state tax credit of up to $50 per individual return or $100 per joint return. 

Unfortunately, under the Trump tax reform bill, you can no longer deduct your union dues unless you are a small business owner.

Donate to The PAT Sick-Leave Bank

Donate up to 40 hours of your sick-leave to help a colleague in need.

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

Thanks to your generosity, last year we met our goal of collecting the maximum number of voluntarily donated hours allowed under our contract. Recent improvements in our contract (CBA Article 17.2.1.2.F) mean that we can now fulfill almost all applications for assistance prior to running out of Sick Leave Bank hours. This shows the District that PAT members act on their belief that an injury to one is an injury to all.

It’s a new school year, with new needs, and a new Bank to fill. We can accept up to 4,000 hours and have a long way to go to reach that goal. 

This year, it is easier than ever to donate hours: you can donate hours by filling out this online form! You will need to log in with your PPS email account and include your PPS employee ID number on the form.

For more information, and to apply to the sick-leave bank, go to our website: http://www.pdxteachers.org/pat_forms 

Thank you for being part of this crucial program that allows us to support our colleagues through our union.