Advocacy Committee Update: Reminders Sent to PPS Building Administrators

Based on information from members, the following reminders were sent to all PPS administrators by the District. We’ve included the language sent by the District in case your administrator needs to see it in writing. 

DROP-INS DURING CDL

“This is a friendly reminder that the district and PAT have made the following agreement around observations in the distance learning setting:

When an administrator conducts a drop-in observation, the administrator shall either provide notice to the educator before the class begins or announce their presence to the educator when they enter the class. Any formal observation shall follow notice requirements and the prior meetings called for in the existing evaluation handbook.

When building administrators, district level support staff or district administrators are planning to join a class, please send a quick email to the teacher, and, if appropriate, announce your presence when you enter the “classroom”.  If there is a time sensitive need that prevents sending an email, please announce your presence.”

GENERAL EDUCATION STUDENTS PLACED IN SPED CLASSROOMS

“We recognize the challenges building administrators face in trying to provide sufficient levels of support to some of your struggling students. It is important to remember that general education students cannot be scheduled into special education classes without a completed current eligibility, and consent to initiate SPED services signed by a parent. If you have questions or need clarification about this, please contact your SPED administrator.”

PAT Election Reminder: Vote by February 25th

Don’t forget to vote in the 2021 PAT Elections! Votes must be cast by tomorrow, Thursday, February 25 at 5:00pm. The ballot lists candidates for PAT Executive Board Directors, OEA RA delegates, and NEA RA delegates. If you have not received your ballot (sent to your PPS email address), or if you are not a member and would like to join so that you may vote, please contact [email protected].

OEA Relief Fund Open for Substitute Educators, Apply by June 1, 2021

In response to the continued financial hardship the COVID-19 pandemic has caused for many of our substitute and community college educators, OEA has authorized an additional round of disaster relief grants for impacted members from the OEA Relief Fund. This application is for OEA members who are substitute educators, and who have lost salary as a result of COVID-19. Members who have previously received a COVID-19 relief grant from OEA are eligible to apply for additional support during this application window. (Non-members are not eligible for this grant.) Funding request is allowed for up to $1,000. Deadline to apply is June 1, 2021.

To view eligibility criteria and to apply please go here

Upcoming Events_2_24_21

February Committees Meeting, RSVP Here

  • Bargaining Committee, February 24th, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Racial Equity, February 24th, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Social Justice and Community Outreach, February 24th, 4:30-6:30 PM
  • Membership, February 25th, 4:00-5:30 PM
  • Legislative, February 25th, 5:00-7:00 PM

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

Teach Climate Justice: “An Environmental Justice Tour of the Willamette River”, February 25th, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

OEA Webinar Series: ODE Promising Practices Idea Exchange, March 3rd, 4:00-5:00 PM: Building and Maintaining Student Relationships

OEA Webinar, March 4th, 4:00-5:00PM: Building Slides for Accessibility: Why and How

OEA Webinar, March 4th 4:30-5:45PM: Online Licensure Workshop

For all upcoming events, please see the PAT calendar and OEA calendar.http://www.pdxteachers.org/

Bargaining Brief- February 22, 2021

PAT Colleagues:

 

Your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS in bargaining negotiations on Thursday, February 18th (Part 1Part 2Part 3), and on Monday, February 22nd (Part 1).  The primary focus of both sessions was the District’s announced plan to begin a Hybrid instructional model in April this year.  

 

PPS has been involved in a no-holds-barred approach to negotiations regarding moving to Hybrid education since its first announcement.  In spite of the District’s claims of “we hope for collaboration,” it is clear that the District was planning on a PAT-capitulation approach.  Nonetheless, PAT has forced the District to address two of PAT members’ major concerns, regarding ventilation and cohort size:

 

1.  PAT has been able to move the District to recognize that the ventilation systems in PPS buildings do not provide for educator or student safety during a pandemic. Originally, PPS informed PAT that it was doing a “what the building can accommodate” method of providing for indoor air quality.  When your PAT Team pushed back, PPS agreed that it would review the issue.  The next PPS negotiations statement was that the District was working to replace all filters and repair dampers to increase outdoor air supply to rooms, and having done so, had met all their regulatory requirements for air quality.  Your PAT Team again pushed back showing the District that its second shot at addressing this issue didn’t match reasonable safety guidelines.   

 

Yesterday, PPS informed PAT that it was/is purchasing a HEPA-certified, appropriately sized air purification device for each student-occupied building space.  So far, PPS already has 500 filters on hand, and the District is awaiting more than 1,000 more.  In addition, there are over 1,000 additional filters that have been ordered and will be in-district prior to the opening of in-person activities.  HEPA-certified filtration meets or exceeds MERV 16 filters, and that means that indoor air quality, when combined with distancing, masking, and the other HVAC improvements described by the District, will make for a safe classroom environment.

 

2.  Not only has PPS recognized its responsibility to provide safety with air purification, but yesterday PPS accepted the PAT proposal that student cohorts should be determined not by a “one-size-fits-all” approach, but by safe social distancing standards determined by each room. 

 

The social distancing and air quality victories means that your Team may, for the first time, begin to see a way to move towards a vision of some form of Hybrid instruction becoming a reality.  We have always known that members long to work with their students in person, but that many members were rightfully concerned about personal, family, student, and student-family safety.  Yesterday’s successes, combined with the improving public health metrics, mean that we may have a way to reach those goals. 

 

We know from our surveys that the vast majority of PAT members are opposed to the “simulcast” model of instruction.  Your Team does not plan to propose what model in-person education should take, and we don’t know what model our professional educators believe is best.

 

At the same time, we know that there are some demands for working conditions that are set in stone, regardless of the Hybrid model:

  • We know that educators need significant individual-planning time.  
  • We know that educators need to have time to function as teachers and not as cleaning crew or IT/Tech support.  
  • We know that the District must make accommodations for individuals who have personal or family health issues.  
  • We know that there are significant logistical and practical issues to consider in making a transition to partial in-person teaching.  
  • Finally, we know that many members have their own children who may not be returning to in-person school and will therefore need supports.

 

For all these issues, your Bargaining Team will continue to set guardrails to ensure that any model the District selects will address what we need to be able to do our jobs.

 

We will be reaching out to you in the coming weeks to learn more about your priorities for the spring.  Once we have that information, we will present new proposals to the District.

 

It is through your insight and solidarity that your Team is able to move all of our needs forward.  Your Team is grateful for the support expressed to us and we count on that support moving forward.  Together we will fight for an educational model that works for students and educators in PPS in spite of COVID-19. 

 

Continue reading

Teach Climate Justice Event This Thursday

The next "Teach Climate Justice" gathering, sponsored by the PPS Climate Justice Committee and the Portland Association of Teachers, will be held online February 25th, 4:00pm to 5:30pm. This session, co-sponsored with the Braided River Campaign, is “An Environmental Justice Tour of the Willamette River: Reimagining Portland's Fossil Fuel Sacrifice Zone." We'll provide teaching resources, opportunities for conversation, and insight from activists working for a just transition on the Willamette. 

Please join us -- everyone is welcome. Also, see the event's flyer for the link.

Continue reading

Bargaining Brief, February 16th: Hybrid Survey Results

Dear Educator,

Last week, we surveyed all members to find out your positions in regard to the District’s plan to begin Hybrid instruction in April. Our response at the bargaining table and in our advocacy is driven by our members' priorities, so it is crucial that we hear from all our members. We again had a huge response to this survey; by the time the survey closed, we heard from 2,818 members, or about 80% of our membership.

One thing that is crystal clear is that our members do NOT support a Simulcast Hybrid model.  When asked which option would best meet your students’ educational needs for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, only 7.5% chose the Simulcast model for Hybrid instruction.  

In another question, 77% of educators responded that student needs would be better met by putting resources into improving CDL and meeting student needs through LIPI, than by shifting resources toward implementing a Hybrid model. When disaggregated by race, that number rose to 83% of educators of color.

We asked educators to identify MAJOR CONCERNS with shifting to a Hybrid model for 4th quarter, assuming educators have been fully vaccinated, and following all required ODE RSSL guidelines. Educators’ top concerns continue to be about safety. These are the top 3 responses:

  • Risk of students spreading Covid-19 to non-vaccinated family members (87%)
  • Lack of adequate ventilation and sanitation in your school (78%)
  • Risk of teachers spreading Covid-19 to non-vaccinated family members (78%)

We realize that there are different considerations in implementing Hybrid instruction for different grade levels, so we asked members to what degree you support the goal of beginning Hybrid instruction at four different grade bands:

  • For PK-2, only 25% of all members responded that they support shifting to Hybrid; this percentage was almost the same when we looked at the responses of just PK-2 educators (26%). The results for 3rd-5th grade were similar, with 23% of all members supporting Hybrid for these grades, and 25% of 3rd-5th grade educators supporting it.
  • There was even less support for the goal of offering Hybrid for 6th-8th grade or 9th-12th grade, with 18% of middle school educators supporting a middle school Hybrid, and 19% of high school educators supporting high school Hybrid. 

While educators’ top concerns continue to be the safety and well-being of our students, these results make it clear that educators do not believe that implementing a Hybrid model this spring, particularly one built around Simulcast, would best serve our students’ educational needs. 

Given these results, our bargaining team will continue to fight for safe working conditions for when we do return to in-person learning. However, educators’ responses also make it clear that the priority is not getting as many students as possible into physical classrooms during this pandemic, but rather identifying student needs, and determining how we can best safely address those needs by improving Comprehensive Distance Learning and CDL supports, and increasing Limited In-Person Instruction options to meet needs that cannot be addressed remotely. 

 

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

What Would Hybrid Look Like? Q and A

Dear Educator,

We know you are getting a lot of questions about what Hybrid Instruction would look like for students. We don’t have all the answers, because PPS has not yet shared a detailed plan.

In the linked document (also shown below) are our best responses to some common questions that families may have, based on what PPS has presented, and on the safety parameters described in ODE’s  Ready Schools, Safe Learners Document, Version 5.5.0, January 19, 2021 (RSSL).

We hope it will be helpful in creating a clearer picture of what students would experience in a Hybrid learning environment.

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

 

What Will K-5 Hybrid Instruction Look Like in PPS?

We are getting a lot of questions about what Hybrid Instruction would look like for students. We don’t have all the answers, because PPS has not yet shared a detailed plan. Below are our best responses to some common questions that families may have, based on what PPS has presented, and on the safety parameters described in ODE’s Ready Schools, Safe Learners Document, Version 5.5.0, January 19, 2021 (RSSL).

During the ongoing pandemic, Oregon schools must follow the required guidelines set out by ODE in RSSL. In this document, the bullet points are taken directly from RSSL guidelines, and unless otherwise noted, schools are required to follow them.

 

Q&A

 

Q. Why hybrid? Why can’t my student go to in-person school, 5 days a week?

A. Hybrid instruction is an attempt to give students as much in-person instruction as possible, given the safety guidelines that must be followed, and the resources that schools currently have. The RSSL guidelines require 35 square feet per person. Most classes in PPS have 25-30 students per teacher, but most classrooms can accommodate only 10-14 students with safe spacing.

 

Teacher and Student Relationships

Q. If I choose hybrid instruction, will my student have the same teacher and class they have now?

A. Unknown. PPS has said they would try to keep students with their current teacher, but this could depend on many factors, including the number of students in the class, how many students choose Hybrid or Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL), the size of the classroom, and the model of hybrid instruction that PPS designs.

Q. If I choose Comprehensive Distance Learning instruction, will my student have the same teacher and class they have now?

A. Also unknown. See above. If teachers are instructing more than one cohort of Hybrid learners, it is unclear when or how they would have time to support CDL learners.

Q. Will the teacher be able to assist my student?

A. The teacher will do their best to assist your student. Following RSSL guidelines, the teacher and students must wear masks. Teachers must also maintain a 6 foot distance from your student as much as possible. In a simulcast model, the teacher would be instructing students who are at home and participating through video-feed at the same time that they would be instructing the students in the physical classroom.

 

Classroom Capacity & Spacing

Q. Can my student move freely around their classroom?

A. No. Six feet of distance must be maintained at all times. The District has rearranged student desks and other seat spaces so that staff and students’ physical bodies are six feet apart to the maximum extent possible while also maintaining 35 square feet per person; RSSL guidelines outline assigned seating so students are in the same seat at all times.

Q. Will my student participate in group or partner work? Can my student sit somewhere different than their assigned desk?

A. Students are to have the same seat at all times. Other furniture and group carpet options have been removed from classrooms. Any group or partner work would need to be done from assigned seats, which are spaced 6 feet apart. Further, RSSL guidelines include:
“Consider removing upholstered furniture and soft seating and replace with surfaces that can be wiped down and cleaned easily.” Recommended, Page 40

 

Mask Policy

Q. Will my student need to wear a mask while they are at school?

A. Yes, even when outdoors.
“Face coverings should be worn both indoors and outdoors, including during outdoor recess.” Required, Page 30
“Some exceptions for ADA, IDEA, etc.” Accommodations, Page 30

Q. Will the teacher be wearing a mask? How will that work for instruction?

A. Yes, everyone must wear a mask. Educators will do their best to communicate with students, but must wear a mask for everyone’s safety. In a simulcast model, the teacher will be wearing a mask while teaching CDL students, as there would be in-person students in the room at the same time.

 

School Supplies

Q. Can students share supplies and other classroom manipulatives?

A. No, students will need their own supplies. Anything that is shared must be disinfected between uses. RSSL guidelines state:
“Avoid sharing of community supplies when possible (e.g., scissors, pencils, etc.).” Required, Page 40
“Clean, sanitize, and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, transport vehicles) and shared objects (e.g., toys, games, art supplies) between uses multiple times per day.” Required, Page 45

 

Recess

Q. Will my student be able to play with others during outside recess?

A. Yes, but 6 feet of distance is to be kept, even when outside. Students also need to stay within their stable cohort, even when outdoors. RSSL guidelines include:
“Maintain physical distancing requirements, stable cohorts, and square footage requirements.” Required, Page 41
“Before and after using playground equipment, students must wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60-95% alcohol.” Required, Page 41
“Design recess activities that allow for physical distancing and maintenance of stable cohorts.” Required, Page 41
“Designate playground and shared equipment solely for the use of one cohort at a time and sanitized daily.” Required, Page 41

 

Eating

Q. Can my child eat at school?

A. Only during designated times with distance protocols in place. PPS is planning for “Grab and Go” meals that would be eaten off campus. RSSL guidelines state:
“At designated meal or snack times, students may remove their face coverings to eat or drink but must maintain six feet of physical distance from others, and must put face coverings back on after finishing the meal or snack.” Required, Page 42


Moving in Hallways and other Activities

Q. Will my student get to use different spaces and resources within the building?

A. No. You can expect your child to stay inside the classroom. Movement inside the school building will be limited. RSSL guidelines state:
“Limit transitions to the extent possible. Create hallway procedures to promote physical distancing and minimize gatherings.” Required, Page 39

Q. Will my student be able to participate in traditional field trips or school assemblies?

A. No, those activities do not allow for needed physical distancing requirements. RSSL guidelines state:
“Cancel, modify, or postpone field trips, assemblies, athletic events, practices, special performances, school-wide parent meetings and other large gatherings to meet requirements for physical distancing.” Required, Page 39

 

Transportation

Q. Can my student take the school bus to get to campus?

A. Busses will have a limited capacity. RSSL guidelines state:
“Face coverings for all students.” Required, Page 44
“Take all possible actions to maximize ventilation: Dress warmly, keep vents and windows open to the greatest extent possible.” Required, Page 44
“Provide at least three feet of physical distance between passengers. Potential exposures on a bus are significantly reduced by three feet of distance, in combination with face coverings, and open windows for ventilation.” Recommended, Page 44

Q. What if a child who appears to be sick is on the bus?

A. Bus drivers are required to pick up any student who is waiting to get on the bus. If a student gets on the bus and appears sick or is exhibiting symptoms, they will be asked to sit in a designated place on the bus, close to the front.

 

Ballots for PAT 2021 Elections

Dear Educator,

You should have received an electronic ballot on Monday and again a few minutes ago for PAT elections. They were sent to your PPS email address at about 5:45 pm, with the subject "2021 PAT Elections."

Only PAT members may vote in PAT elections. If you don’t see your ballot in your PPS email inbox, please check your “Spam” and “Junk” folders. Once you find it, please mark it as "Not Junk" so that future ballots will go to your inbox. If you still do not see your ballot, or if you are not a member and would like to join in order to vote, please contact Jennifer Dixon ([email protected]).

Candidate statements, video speeches, and candidate answers to four member-generated questions are linked in the ballot. You are able to view them once you open your ballot, and you can then re-enter your ballot to vote at a later time, if you wish. 

BALLOTS MUST BE SUBMITTED NO LATER THAN 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 25, 2021.



President's Message

Across the country, school districts of every size are grappling with the question of how to best educate students at this stage of the pandemic. In recent weeks there has been a lot of media coverage and public debate on the issue of opening school buildings for in-person instruction, and the role of teachers’ unions in the process.

I’m always struck by how often reporters, or members of the community, talk about teachers’ unions as if they are completely separate from the teachers themselves. As PAT members, WE ARE THE UNION, and one of the things that defines our union is our commitment to democracy. Ensuring every member has a voice in PAT is one of our fundamental values.

When we have major decisions to make, like what to prioritize at the bargaining table or how to respond to the District’s plan to reopen school buildings, we provide members with the best information we have, and engage our entire membership to determine our collective priorities, through surveys, forums, building meetings, and one-on-one organizing. 

Our bargaining team and our union leaders are committed to representing the priorities of all our members, and we rely on member input, as well as the feedback from the elected building reps at all our school sites, to make sure that we are representing you all. Democracy can take time, but it’s the only way we can truly be inclusive, and synthesize the nuance and multiple perspectives that are inherent in any complex issue.

This is also the only way to build unity, which is critical if we want to ensure educators have a real voice in shaping the future of public schools, and address the longstanding needs of our students and the communities we serve.

Across the country, educators have demonstrated that when we’re united, real change is within our reach. 

And you have made it clear that what unites PAT members right now is a commitment to protecting the lives of educators, students, and their families. 

We know reopening school buildings safely requires, first and foremost, containing the community spread of COVID, as well as proper ventilation and social distancing in our buildings, and a plan for protecting the families of our students. Until school buildings can be opened safely, we can best serve our students by putting our resources and creativity into improving Comprehensive Distance Learning, while adding Limited-In-Person supports to address academic and social-emotional needs which cannot be met through CDL.

By standing together, we can continue to ensure that educators and our school communities are protected. 

Now more than ever, we need the input of every PAT member to guide our decision-making. The survey we sent out last Friday on the District’s hybrid plan, is one example. Thank you for taking the time to respond, and for continuing to share your perspective as the conditions of the pandemic continue to evolve. We will look closely at the results, including disaggregating the data, to determine how we will move forward.

Guided by solidarity, and grounded in our commitment to or students and our profession, we truly are a powerful force.

Black Lives Matter at School

Our PAT Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee and our PAT Racial Equity Committee invite you to participate in a Week of Action to celebrate Black Lives.

Visit our website for curriculum and resources you can use all year.

Please mark your calendar and join us for these fabulous events coming up this week:

2021 FLYER WITH LINKS TO REGISTER

What is Limited In-Person Instruction?

Many of you have noticed the tension that has developed between the understandable desire to have children return to school, and the sensible insistence on safe working environments under COVID-19 conditions. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, health experts have advised that individuals avoid the “Three Cs” – Close Contact, Closed Spaces, Crowds. Thankfully, there is a way that some in-person instruction can still take place while meeting health and safety guidelines; ODE calls it LIPI (Limited In-Person Instruction).

According to the Oregon Department of Education, LIPI is when schools operating in the Comprehensive Distance Learning instructional model bring a limited number of students, for limited hours and with specific conditions, on-site. 

LIPI is meant to meet academic or social/emotional needs that cannot be met through CDL. In planning for LIPI opportunities, your school should first identify what students need(s) can not be met by CDL, and determine if those needs could be safely addressed with LIPI.

Additionally, per ODE Guidelines:

  • LIPI cohort groups are limited to no more than 20 students.
  • Students cannot be part of more than two cohorts (including transportation) in any given week. 
  • Any one staff member (even in multiple roles) cannot interact with more than three cohorts in a given day and five in a week. 
  • LIPI cannot take the place of any CDL instruction. 

You can read the full Guidance for Limited In-Person Instruction During CDL HERE

Your PAT bargaining team has worked over the last three sessions to negotiate the fine points of LIPI activities in PPS. Key to our conversation:

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • Educators who volunteer can rescind their volunteer offer if they do not feel safe once they inspect the space provided for LIPI.

For more information, please see our LIPI agreement on safety and working conditions, and our LIPI FAQ.

Using Leave Time for Your COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment

As rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, please be aware of your right to use leave time to receive the vaccine. You do not need to use your own leave balances for your vaccine appointment; however, you must follow all regular procedures for requesting time off to ensure proper coverage of your work.

If your vaccine appointment occurs during synchronous time or otherwise requires you to do so, please request a substitute educator during that time. Our substitute educators are vital to the strength of our district and our union. We depend on them and they depend on us-- many of our substitute educators have been very hard hit during this pandemic. 

To utilize leave to get a vaccine, submit your absence as you normally would and schedule a substitute educator on Frontline by selecting the leave code Inservice-School. Inside the box in a note to the Administrator you will write: COVID-Vaccine appointment.

If you experience side effects from the vaccine and are unable to report to work, follow the regular protocols for using sick leave. This will be charged against your sick day bank.

Sending good wishes to all of our educators as they get vaccines!

Elect Your PAT Leaders

PAT members will elect four PAT Executive Board Directors to begin a two-year term upon taking office July 1, 2021. PAT members should have received a ballot (sent to your PPS email address) on February 8, along with a Voters’ Pamphlet including the candidate statements, video speeches, and their answers to four member-generated questions. Also on the ballot are candidates for PAT delegate positions to the 2021 OEA and NEA Representative Assemblies. Votes must be cast by 5:00 p.m. on February 25. Only PAT members may vote. If you are not a member and would like to vote, please join here, and then contact [email protected].

MAP Testing Answers

There have been many questions and some confusion regarding MAP testing. In our efforts to clarify some issues, we asked PPS Chief of Schools, Shawn Bird, to answer some questions. Below are his responses. But we would also like to remind teachers that any time you spend administering MAP testing is considered “administrator-directed time.” It should not come out of your 950 minutes per week of “educator-directed time.”

Which students are to take the test and what is the testing window?

  • For 3rd-8th grade educators, the MAP’s testing window is February 1st to February 26th. 

How long should students spend taking the test?

  • Students participating in MAPs testing should not take longer than one hour for each test (Math and ELA). 

What  happens if students take longer than the one hour allotted?

  • If the student’s parent would like their child to spend longer than an hour on the test, they can access a substitute teacher by informing their principal that they would like their child to have more time to finish the assessment and the school will arrange for the sub to proctor the assessment.

  Do students have to take the test?

  • Parents may choose to not have their child participate in taking the test. The District has sent parents specific information that states this.

What does a parent need to do if they choose to not have their child take the test?

  • If parents choose to not have their child participate they can do this by notifying the child's teacher or principal (there is no opt out form required).

IPD Committee Update

The Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) Committee focuses on issues related to our professional practice. This month, at our Wednesday, February 17th meeting, we invite members to join us for two important topics:

1. Professional Development for 6-12th grade Humanities (Language Arts, Social Sciences, ELD): Humanities Department Administrators Kristina Granby and Tania McKey have reached out to us in an effort to gather educator input about what you would find most useful in professional development.

Please join us on Wednesday, February 17, 4:30 - 5:30 pm to share your thoughts with Kristina Granby, Tania McKey, and Tahrena Wicker. They will have specific questions to get your feedback on and there will also be time to discuss the questions and insight you all bring. 

The questions from Humanities Administrators will be shared ahead of time in the agenda which will be sent out to all PAT members who RSVP to attend (link below).

2. Student Assessment in CDL: As teachers, we know our students and their instructional needs. How can we come together to collect and present this data to our central office leadership team and the PPS School Board as a richer, more authentic alternative to MAP test data? We will focus on this topic from 5:30-6:30 pm.

All PAT members are welcome. Please RSVP here to join the IPD committee discussion next week.

Bargaining for Racial Equity: Contract Language to Attract, Support, and Retain Educators of Color

As we look toward bargaining with PPS on our PAT/PPS contract, one of PAT's goals in the bargain is to win language that better supports educators of color in PPS. 

We want to make sure our proposals in the upcoming bargain include language moving us towards that goal, and to listen to our members of color in determining which concepts to pursue. To that end, we created a survey, which went to all our members who identify as a person of color. We asked those members to rate bargaining concepts on how effective they think they would be in attracting, supporting, and retaining educators of color.

The bargaining concepts on the survey came from our bargaining committee, our racial equity committee members, suggestions from members of color, as well as concepts being considered for coordinated bargaining efforts with other local teachers' unions in Oregon.  

The results were enlightening. It is clear that PAT members of color believe that there is a lot we can ask for in our contract to better support educators of color in PPS. The following topics received a rating of “highly effective” in attracting, retaining, and supporting educators of color, by 70% or more of the respondents: 

  • Stipends for peer support for new educators of color.
  • Stipends for any educator who is asked to use bilingualism in their job.
  • A loan-forgiveness program for PPS students of color who become PPS educators.

In addition, a number of questions received over 60% of respondents rating the idea as “highly effective.”

  • Providing educators with materials in the language of instruction.
  • Requiring that PPS develop district-wide professional development on implicit-bias, anti-racism, and culturally responsive practices.
  • Creating a stipend or extended pay for educators who run student-affinity groups during lunch or after school.
  • Strengthening current contract language that addresses the stabilization of schools with high staff turnover.

As we move closer to finally getting into the next round of bargaining, we will do all we can, with the power of the whole PAT membership, to move these issues into the contract.  

PAT Scholarship: Aspiring Educators of Color

We're proud to announce a new PAT-sponsored scholarship opportunity for future educators of color! One scholarship for $6,000 will be awarded to a graduating PPS senior, who identifies as a person of color, and who plans on becoming a certified educator. Another $6,000 scholarship will be open for any PPS employee of color, who is not yet a certified educator. Look for further details on how to apply soon! 

The PAT Racial Equity Committee is overseeing this new opportunity for our union to support aspiring educators of color. 

Know Your Contract: Upcoming Dates

Unpaid Leaves - March 1 Application Deadline

PAT/PPS Contract, Article 17.4.1, provides: 

"Requests for a full year unpaid Personal, Exchange, or Career Development leave of absence (whether part-time or full-time) for the next school year must be submitted to Human Resources prior to March 1 or the leave will not be approved, except in extenuating circumstances where such leave requests will not be unreasonably denied."

Information regarding these unpaid leaves can be found on the PPS website.

Notice of Retirement/Resignation 

An educator who gives notice of retirement or resignation (excluding resignation in lieu of termination, non-renewal, or non-extension) no later than February 15 shall be entitled to a notice stipend of $700. The payment will be received in the educator’s final paycheck. See PAT/PPS contract Article 18.2.

Portland Jobs with Justice Solidarity Pledge

PAT is a proud member of Portland Jobs with Justice (JWJ), which organizes support for labor and community struggles at rallies, on picket lines, in educational settings, as well as at meetings and hearings. Fundamental to the work of Portland JwJ is a solidarity pledge from individuals to turn out to support other people’s struggles at least five times a year. Sign the pledge and ask 5 of your colleagues to join you. 

Please regularly check out the JWJ Solidarity Calendar for information on actions, rallies, and events where you can participate and build solidarity with other workers in struggle around the Portland metro area.

Other Upcoming Events

  • Thursday, February 11th, 4:00-6:30 pm - "PUSHOUT" Watch Party and Student Panel. Movie: 4:00-5:30pm and Student Panel 5:30-6:30. Register here!
  • Friday, February 12th, 5:00-6:00 pm - "You Better Recognize: Reviving the Black Nod" watch party and Q&A with award-winning filmmaker Elijah Hasan and produced by S. Renee Mitchell. Register here!
  • Saturday, February 13th: OEA Symposium on Racial Equity. Join the waitlist here.
  • Saturday, February 13th 4:00-5:30 pm: Beating Apathy TrainingRegister here.
  • Monday, February 15th: PAT office closed to observe Presidents Day

February Committees Meeting, RSVP Here

  • Advocacy, February 17th, 4:30-6:30PM 
  • IPD, February 17th, 4:30-6:30PM
  • Substitute, February 17th, 4:30-6:30PM
  • Racial Equity, February 24th, 4:30-6:30pm 
  • Social Justice and Community Outreach, February 24th, 4:30-6:30pm 
  • Membership, February 25th, 4:00-5:30pm
  • Legislative, February 25th, 5:00-7:00pm

See the PAT Calendar and OEA Calendar for more

PAT Bargaining Survey: Hybrid Model

PAT Educators,

 

In order to best represent all our members, we again need to hear from you. Please read the information below, and then take the short bargaining survey that was sent to your PPS email inbox around 2:35pm today.

 

The survey will close at 12:00pm next Wednesday, February 10. Only PAT members may take the survey. If you are not a member of PAT, but would like to join so you can take the bargaining survey, please respond to this email.

 

Last week, at the January 26th PPS School Board Meeting and in an email to PPS staff and families, the District announced its intention to begin Hybrid instruction for families that choose it. PPS informed everyone that it was beginning Hybrid instruction in April. At the end of our bargaining session on February 4th, the District announced their intention to pursue a “simulcast” version of hybrid instruction. (Please read the February 4th Bargaining Brief for more information.)

 

Hybrid Instruction is different than LIPI (Limited-in-Person-Instruction). In LIPI, students receive their general instruction through CDL, but may have the opportunity for additional in-person support. “Hybrid” instruction means students receive some of their general instruction in-person, but in smaller groups to accommodate for Covid-19 safety protocols. In most Hybrid models, students attend class in-person for half-days or for 2 days per week, and participate in distance learning the rest of the time. 

 

Simulcast Hybrid would mean that educators would hold in-person instruction for the portion of their students who have opted to attend in person, and simultaneously instruct the remainder of their students who have opted to remain in CDL online via a live video feed.

 

The District’s plan is still in the initial stages of development and there is much that we do not know about how their plan will be operationalized, so we ask to hear your thoughts based on the limited information that we DO have. 



Hybrid Instruction in PPS: What we know-

  • PPS has indicated a plan to begin in April using a “simulcast” model.
  • They indicated an intention to start with the youngest students at some schools, and to scale up to include all elementary school grades and potentially middle grades.
  • Students and families would be given a choice to remain in CDL (through simulcast) or to participate in Hybrid learning.
  • Schools would follow all of the required safety guidelines in the ODE RSSL, including 35 square feet per person and the requirement for most students to wear masks. However, the safety protocols listed as “recommended” may or may not be followed.
  • Educators in grade levels or programs that implement hybrid instruction would be required to teach in-person.
  • Our MOU proposals state that educators shall not teach CDL and Hybrid at the same time. This would require separate staffing of CDL and Hybrid.
  • PPS is required to bargain around our safety and working conditions.
  • PPS plans to survey families next week to find out how many students want to participate in a Hybrid learning model.



Hybrid Instruction in PPS: What we DON’T know-

  • How many families, and which families, would choose Hybrid over CDL.
  • How the District would accommodate educators who are unable to be vaccinated.
  • How the transition from CDL to Hybrid would occur.
  • Any of the details for how a simulcast hybrid would work in practice. 

 

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

Online Rep Assembly, February 10, 2021

Materials from the Online Rep Assembly Meeting, February 10th, 2021:

Continue reading

Bargaining Brief- February 4, 2021

Colleagues:

Your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS on Thursday, February 4th (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4) to review the District’s response to the PAT “Community Support” proposals, to listen to a report from PPS regarding the current state of ventilation and indoor air quality in PPS buildings, and to begin a discussion of the PPS plan for a return to in-person instruction.

Your Team is pleased to announce that the District has finally agreed to the PAT proposal regarding substitute educator support for students who are facing difficulties fully engaging in Comprehensive Distance Learning. The finalized language gives PAT professional educators the ability to work with building administration to assign a fully trained and licensed substitute educator to work with particular students. It has taken since August of 2020 to get PPS to agree to such a commonsense and needed proposal, but on Thursday we finally broke through. If you believe that one or more of your students would benefit from additional support beyond what is available in your school, please email your building administrator with a request for the support of a substitute educator. 

Although the final community support language is not what we all know PPS should and could be doing to help the students and families we serve, the language does create joint agreements that will assist Portland families get the services they deserve.

The District’s presentation regarding indoor air quality safeguards and ventilation capacity was vague at best. At this time we are reviewing district documents and statements to get a better picture about the health of the approximately 80 PPS school buildings.

After the ventilation discussion was finished and agreements for community support were reached, PAT directly asked the PPS team to explain its plan to transition into an in-person educational model. The resulting discussion was distressing. PPS announced that it intends PAT members to provide both in-person and distance learning simultaneously, in a plan it calls a “Simulcast” model. PPS intends this “Simulcast” model to begin around the start of the fourth quarter. When asked what districts they are drawing their inspiration from or where such a model is working well to serve students, no one on the District’s bargaining team could reference a single example.

PPS intends PAT members to make sure that students are engaged in in-person instruction, while at the same time making sure students watching the lessons via video are also fully engaged. No details were provided as to how precisely students viewing instruction remotely would participate beyond being passive observers of instruction. The district plan is currently set to begin some time in April, when there will only be a few weeks of the school year remaining.  What isn’t clear is how PPS believes it’s plan will actually be successful for students.

The “Simulcast” plan will give parents the choice to have their elementary school students attend school in a hybrid model or to attend school in a fully CDL model. The hybrid plan contends that some students will attend school four days a week for core subjects and then attend online classes for science, social studies, and electives. While that hybrid model is in place the plan also enables some students to remain in a fully CDL model. Those students will receive all of their instruction online, half of the day watching classes in which some of their peers are actually in an in-person model. From district official’s comments, it seems that educators will need to stay in front of a camera to meet the needs of the students in CDL, but also manage a class of online students. Educators will need to be focused on CDL students AND in-person students at the same time. 

Your PAT Team is concerned that the District’s plan creates an instant opportunity gap. It appears that students who are in a CDL model will not receive an education equal to those in the District’s version of a Hybrid model of instruction. At this time, we are unsure how PAT members will have the time or ability to create lessons that work equally well in an online format and in an in-person class. We are unsure how an educator can meet the needs of students watching a class while also keeping students socially distant and on-task in an in-person model. Finally, we are unsure how an educator can spend time creating in-person pandemic-classroom norms and provide continuous instruction, while also keeping an online relationship with students who attend a fully CDL school model.   

What is abundantly clear is that PPS is also unsure how these things will happen. The District appears to desperately want to be able to claim that it has “reopened” school buildings, regardless of the potential harm to students, their families, or the professional educators who serve them. 

We know that PAT members also want schools to reopen for in-person instruction, and we know that all of you have worked all year to create a Comprehensive Distance Learning experience for students that works, even if that version of “works” is imperfect. Your Team believes that the LIPI agreement that was reached just a few weeks ago will give the District the ability to further enhance the CDL experience for students. It seems that rather than enter a program that is so fundamentally flawed, the District should help educators make the CDL model as successful as it possibly can be. Although your Team holds those ideas at this time, we know that we need to hear from all of you before we make final proposals around this issue. 

The PAT is sending a survey to all PAT members asking for member reaction to the District’s plan for a “Simulcast” model of Hybrid instruction. 

We ask that each member take the survey as soon as they receive it. We want to represent our members at the bargaining table, and we can’t do that without each of you providing responses. As in all things, our ability to move your issues forward in bargaining is a direct result of our unity. 

 

In Solidarity,

 

Continue reading