Bargaining Brief- May 19 & 21, 2021

Dear PAT Partners:

Your PAT bargaining Team met with the District team on Wednesday, May 19 (Part 1Part 2) for a half-day session, and again on Friday, May 21 (Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7) for a full day of negotiations. 

Wednesday’s efforts can be characterized as frustrating.  The District essentially rejected all aspects of the PAT proposals, and when they finally introduced some proposals of their own (“Article 7 – District Proposal” and “Early Retirement Incentive - District Proposal”), they amounted to significant take-backs. 

Your PAT Team’s proposal regarding workload is an attempt to address problems with the Article 8 workload section known as Overages.  PAT’s proposal wanted to make sure that all job classifications had workload protection, sought to create a true representation of the work being done by educators, and aimed to reduce the dollar amount of any dispute that might arise by turning the payment into a monthly calculation rather than two half-year calculations as they are now.  In response, PPS rejected all but the inclusion of the additional job classifications.  The District is well aware that they have failed to honestly live by their prior agreements on workload, and their proposal simply doubled-down on the desire to continue to take advantage of PAT members.

On Wednesday, your PAT Team also received essentially a rejection of your early retirement proposal.  Happily, we finally received the District’s proposal regarding Middle School redesign.  The District has now reduced its concepts down to Middle School planning minutes.  PPS offered a proposal on planning minutes for Middle School staff equal to that of elementary school educators, even though that amount of time is a reduction in the total minutes per week that Middle School educators already receive.  On Friday, we countered this by pointing out that PAT is open to making Middle School and Elementary School PAT members have equal planning minutes, but that the minimum number of minutes for Elementary School educators would have to increase to accomplish that rather than arriving at that goal by making Middle School educators’ jobs more difficult. 

Wednesday ended without a District response to the PAT set of proposals regarding support for educators of color, and without a submission from the District of what the District seeks to change with Article 9 and the Student Rights and Responsibility Handbook.  Needless to say, we could not negotiate or discuss proposals that we did not have, and we again asked the District to provide the response and the proposal.

Friday, May 21, was strangely an improvement over what happened on Wednesday.  Although there were no significant agreements reached, PAT finally received a response from the District (“District Counter (Partial)- Educators of Color” and “District Counter Turnover”) regarding our proposals to support educators of color. 

Your PAT Team was very happy to finally receive a response; however it was clear from the discussions that PPS didn’t take the time to understand the PAT proposals.  To begin with, the District didn’t realize that the PAT proposal to add specifics to the M.7.1 current language was part of the supports for educators of color package.  In addition, after positive discussions with District representatives on topics like Peer Support, affinity group facilitation stipends, the bilingual educator stipends, schools with high educator turnover, and finally, grow your own proposals, your PAT Team and the District Team realized that PPS needed to reexamine its counter proposals.  That is NOT a negative development, but after four negotiation sessions, your PAT Team hoped that the discussions about our proposals would be more on-point.  It is now clear that PPS clearly desires to engage in real discussions on these topics, and is willing to bring the PPS leaders to the table who are working to improve District efforts. 

Also on Friday, your PAT Team gave the District counters to the rejections that we received on Wednesday.  Essentially, we resubmitted our proposals (“PAT Counter to Early Retirement”, “PAT Article 7 Counter”, and “PAT Counter to District Overages Counter”).  The reason for the resubmission of our positions is that PPS seems to feel that the proposals on these topics were somehow part of a traditional give and take, and not a clear expression of PAT member needs.  Finally, your PAT Team offered counter proposals (“PAT Counter to District Counter (Partial)- Educators of Color” and “PAT Counter to District Turnover Counter”) to the District on supporting educators of color and on high turnover schools. 

Your PAT Team and the District Team will meet again on Wednesday, May 26th for a full day of bargaining. 

We want to be clear to all of you, we will not enter into some form of regressive agreement in an attempt to gain fair compensation.  What is obvious to anyone following bargaining is that the issues currently being introduced by PPS in this “limited bargain” are too important to ever agree to for ANY financial gain.  We count on all of you to assist your Bargaining Team to help the District understand this when your organizing team calls on everyone for a show of support.  By standing together we can move the District to appropriate reconsideration of its proposals and closer to the issues your PAT Team has given to the District. 

 

In Solidarity, 

Your PAT Bargaining Team-

Steve Lancaster, Chair

Emy Markewitz

Francisca Alvarez

Charity Powell

Andre Hawkins

Thea Keith

President's Message, May 19, 2021: PAT Stands Behind Racial Equity and Anti-Bias Work in Schools

Across the country, racial equity work in our public schools is under attack. Right wing groups such as “Parents Defending Education,” the Freedom Foundation, and Project Veritas, are using aggressive and underhanded tactics to undermine anti-racist work in school districts across the country, and here in the Pacific Northwest.

Here in Oregon, a pattern is emerging. Conservative groups are harassing and threatening educators involved in ant-racist work, including weaponizing the use of public records requests to access our personal information and use it to intimidate individual educators. Their aim is to generate inflammatory stories in right-wing media outlets and silence those committed to building anti-racist education in public schools. There has been a  barrage of threats against individual educators in recent weeks, causing many to fear for their own safety and that of their families. Please know that our first priority as a union is to protect the safety of our members, including respecting the privacy of those impacted by these hateful acts of intimidation. 

This spring, at least three candidates in communities across Oregon ran for local school board seats on a platform explicitly rejecting anti-racist work in school. As of last night’s election results, I am relieved to say that none of these candidates won. This victory, however, does not signal our work is done.

As educators, we know that the foundation of anti-racist work is love. We do equity work because we care deeply about our students, colleagues, and our community. We know that none of us can be free until all of us are truly free, and this work is at the core of our union. As with any complex endeavor, as our union undertakes anti-racism and anti-bias work we will always strive to create long-term and sustainable change. We are only as powerful as we are united, so it's important to engage as many PAT members as possible in our anti-racism organizing. There are no shortcuts to building the unity that is our collective power.

And we know there is much work to do. For anti-racist work to be successful, we need to thoughtfully and intentionally create spaces where students and educators can be vulnerable and have important conversations, and we must be bold in our push to change systems and practices that reinforce inequalities. We need our school districts and our state education leaders to commit to protecting educators engaged in this work from harassment, and to stand up to groups aiming to undermine our progress. 

PAT unequivocally supports racial equity and anti-bias work in our schools. As a union, our job is to stand up for one another and for our students, and for a racially-just society. Anti-racist work has never been safe. Your union is here to protect all our educators who are boldly undertaking this difficult work.

We stand in solidarity with educators in our community and across the country engaged in anti-racist work that directly centers the safety and well-being of our students of color.

To those who seek to undermine our critical anti-racism and anti-bias work, we will show them through our ongoing commitment that we are undeterred.

PAT Retiree Appreciation Event

Please join us in celebrating all of our wonderful educators who have retired this school year. We recognize that this was an especially challenging year and a half for educators, students, and families, and one that none of us would have imagined as the final year of our careers. The PAT is overjoyed to take some time to reflect and celebrate the careers of all of our retired educators. 

Please join us to honor our retiring PAT members. RSVP here.  

Memorial Day Week Schedule

After hearing concerns from many of you about the schedule the week of Memorial Day, PAT has been working through our Contract Administration process to make sure the schedule honors our agreements. Here are some updates:

For Middle School and High School: 

  • Educators must have at least 80% of their regular “Educator Directed” time over the course of the 4-day week  (724 minutes for Middle School, 720 minutes for High School).
  • To create equity between cohorts, there will be no “Asynchronous Day;” instead, Cohort A on Tu/W and Cohort B on Th/F. 

For Elementary Schools:

  • Elementary School WILL have the Wednesday Asynchronous day, with hybrid students coming in for in-person instruction on T/Th/F.
  • This preserves services for students, including Special Education and small groups.  
  • Educators must have 80% of their regular “Educator Directed” time over the course of the 4-day week (648 minutes).

For K-8 Schools

  • Like Elementary Schools, Wednesday is an Asynchronous day. 
  • PPS has stated that Middle Grades in K-8 schools only have one in-person cohort, so creating symmetry between cohort A and cohort B is not an issue. Please work through your building reps to contact your UniServ Consultant if that is not the case at your school

PAT Substitute Insurance and Substitute Bargaining

Since mid-school year the PAT has asked the District to enter into conversations about health benefits eligibility for Substitute educators. The reason this has been an area of concern is that the current collectively bargained agreement requires that an educator work a minimum of seventy days in a year to be eligible for benefits in the following year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has essentially made it impossible for most substitute educators to work 70 full days. That means that most substitute educators who have Health and Welfare Trust insurance face the loss of that benefit.  

We are happy to report that the District has stated that it is willing to bargain a reduction in the number of days that a substitute educator must work for insurance eligibility, but that is the best we can say. Unfortunately, PPS has stated that it will discuss the issue only as part of the full-bargain for a successor agreement. In addition, even though the two sides met to begin bargaining, the District did not make an insurance proposal.  

Your PAT Substitute Bargaining Team asked the District to consider bargaining a separate MOU for next year’s insurance requirements. The District rejected that request. 

As we move through bargaining, we will do all we can to keep you informed about this extremely important issue. To accomplish that we will be sending substitute members substitute-specific bargaining briefs.  

Apply to be in the 2021-22 PAT Advocacy Cadre

We are seeking applicants to be part of the 2021-22 PAT Advocacy Cadre. Apply here! Read more below.

What is the Advocacy Cadre? 

This small group of members will work closely with UniServ Consultants to become experts on our contract, and will provide member-to-member support. 

The Advocacy Cadre will run a Zoom Advocacy Hotline, where Reps and other members can get immediate answers to questions about the contract and support to resolve problems in their buildings.

Cadre Members Commit to:

  • 2 days Advocacy Training August 17-18, 2021. (This will be held either live, or remotely, depending on safety recommendations at that time.)
  • 1 Zoom Hotline shift a week, during the school year, Mondays, 4:30-6:30pm at PAT.
  • In addition to answering the hotline, this time may include ongoing training and other advocacy work with UniServ Consultants. Additional dates may be added depending on need.
  • This is a 1-year opportunity and commitment, paid at the OEA cadre-rate ($33/hour)

Qualifications:

  • Active PAT membership;
  • Experience as a PAT building rep or other similar union experience preferred;
  • Interest in continued union advocacy work;
  • Special consideration given to applicants with an interest in pursuing work as a UniServ Consultant; 
  • Special consideration given to applicants with characteristics that help create a group that represents the racial diversity of our membership, and of the job-types that our members hold.

Goals for PAT:

  • Build capacity among members to enforce our contract, support member rights, and organize and problem solve in buildings;
  • Develop leadership within PAT that represents the diversity of our membership demographics and workforce positions;
  • Create a pathway toward UniServ Consultant work for interested members.

To Apply:

You can read about this year's Advocacy Cadre here.

PAT Scholarship for Aspiring Educators of Color- Winners and Honorees

Recruiting, supporting, and retaining educators of color is crucial, for our students and for our profession. Starting this spring, we are excited to award two $6,000 scholarships to people of color seeking a rewarding future career in education. 

Congratulations to Gabriela Cano-Hernandez, recipient of the $6,000 Student Scholarship, and to Melissa Brabham recipient of the $6,000 PPS Employee Scholarship.

As an additional effort to support future BIPOC Educators, the PAT Executive Board has also awarded the following PPS employees with $2,000 scholarships and $500 stipends.

$2,000 PPS Employee: Alyssa Anaya, Cole Reginald, David (DeAnthony) Maza, Bao Ngoc Tong, Lien Tran, Natalie Vega 

$500 Stipend Award: Robert McDonald, Taiya Weiss

We look forward to working with all of these amazing people as PAT Certified Educators. Finally, thank you to the Racial Equity Scholarship Committee and the PAT Board for their efforts to support future BIPOC Educators. 

New and Continuing Building Reps: Sign Up for Rep Training

Fundamentals of Being an Effective Building Rep

When: Thursday, June 3, 4:30 - 6:00 PM;  or Monday, June 7, 4:30 - 6:00 PM (both days are the same training, so pick the one that works best for you)

Where: Zoom 

Sign up here to receive a link to the meeting 

Are you a new building rep this year and want to know what your role and responsibilities are? Do you want to learn more about legal rights you have as a rep when you sit down to represent a member with admin or when you are advocating for your colleagues? Where does the building rep fit into the larger structure of the PAT? 

This virtual workshop will provide an overview of your rights and responsibilities as a PAT building rep and focus on teaching you the fundamentals of being an effective building rep. You will learn some of the most important tools for communicating, organizing, advocating, and building a strong union at your school or site. Building reps are the frontlines of the PAT and this fundamentals training will provide you with the most important tools you need to do the job.

May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Month-- Get Involved!

Your PAT AAPI Month planning committee has been hard at work. We are excited to share lessons, resources, and events for AAPI Month. There are a variety of ways to get involved-- from visiting a local AAPI-owned business in the community, to teaching a lesson we created for you, to checking out a new podcast that centers AAPI folx. Once members complete "three in a row" on this Choice Board, you can enter a raffle to win a rad prize such as a $25 gift certificate to a local AAPI owned juicery or restaurant.

We broke up the month of May into 4 different themes. We are now in Week 3!

    • Week 1: Week of Action 
    • Week 2: Asian American History
    • Week 3: Centering Pacific Islanders
    • Week 4: AAPI Joy 

Please note: this is NOT the month to teach about Asian history, culture, or traditions. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a long and rich history in the United States. We need to teach about those histories and experiences to expand ideas of who is an American.

Affinity Space for Asian and Pacific Islander Educators

You are invited to this weekly PAT AAPI Affinity Group- Register here

When: Every Friday at 3:30 pm during the month of May

Hosted by PAT Members Sarah Lee and Tiffany Koyama Lane 

PAT PAC Board Election Results

In April, PAT PAC contributors elected new members to serve as Directors on the PAT PAC Board.  Jacob Jonas Closs and Tina Lamanna will each serve a three year term beginning on July 1st.

In addition to the newly elected Directors, next year’s PAT PAC Board will include these members whose terms continue: Joanne Shepard, Mary Watkins, Ami Fox, Greg Burrill, Erika Schneider, Elizabeth Thiel, and Gwen Sullivan.

To run to be elected as an at-large director of the PAT PAC, one must be a contributor to the PAC; a member of PAT or PMAE-Retired; and a member of the PAT Legislative Committee.

Learn more about the PAT PAC here. 

Donate to PAT’s Sick Leave Bank

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

Members may donate up to 40 hours of sick leave annually. Employees who have submitted notice of resignation are exempted from this maximum limit, and may contribute as many hours as they would like. 

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.

The PAT Sick Leave Bank (see PAT/PPS contract Article 17.2.1.2) provides aid for colleagues who have exhausted their accumulated leave balances but are unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they are able to avoid the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage during their illness. 

The Sick Leave Bank is funded completely by voluntary contributions of sick leave days from PAT educators. Thank you for considering making a donation today!

Learn more about the PAT PAC here. 

'We are not drowning! We are fighting!' Teaching About Climate Change, Island Solidarity, and Indigenous Rights

Thursday, May 20th at 4:30 PM. Join here!

Please join Roosevelt High School teacher and Rethinking Schools editor Moé Yonamine, as she shares curriculum she has developed to highlight the impact of climate change on Indigenous peoples across the Pacific — and their inspiring resistance and resilience. Moé will demonstrate classroom-tested activities that explore historical and recent experiences of different island territories and nations, especially focusing on the Pacific Climate Warriors movement.

Sponsored by the Portland Public Schools Climate Justice Committee and Portland Association of Teachers.  All are welcome. 

OEA 2021 Summer Conference Register Today

July 19-23, 2021--Virtual Conference through OEA Events App

The OEA 2021 Summer Conference is virtual this year and offers a wealth of workshops and seminars covering topics most important to our members in their classrooms, community, and union organizing. 

Each morning will start with two content sessions, with opportunities for networking and office hours in the afternoons. OEA values your time, and encourages you to register for the courses that best meet your learning needs and your personal schedule. 

Download the program for the whole schedule and topics lined up for that week. A condensed participant agenda is also available. 

Upcoming and Continuing Events

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Month

Every Friday in May, 3:30 PM: Asian and Pacific Islander Educators: Affinity Space

May 20, 4:30 PM: 'We are not drowning! We are fighting!' Teaching about climate change, Island solidarity, and Indigenous rights 

July 19-23, 2021: OEA 2021 Summer Conference

Rep Assembly and Committee Meetings

  • May 19, 4:30-6:30 PM: PAT Rep Assembly 
  • May 26, 4:30-6:30 PM: Advocacy Committee
  • May 26, 4:30-6:30 PM: Substitute Committee

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

http://www.pdxteachers.org/

Bargaining Brief, May 17, 2021

Dear PAT Colleagues,

Your PAT Bargaining Team met with the District Team on May 5th and again on May 12th.  The purpose of those meetings was to set ground rules and to exchange initial proposals.  PAT made our initial proposal on May 5th, and PPS made a partial District Initial Proposal on May 12th.  You can watch the May 5th and 12th sessions here.   

As you know, our collective bargaining agreement went into status quo after its expiration on July 1st of 2020.  We were scheduled to begin successor bargaining right after Spring Break of 2020.  Needless to say, things didn't go as planned and we found ourselves bargaining throughout most of the 2020-21 school year over issues related to teaching during a pandemic.  With our CBA nearing a second year in expiration, we have agreed to enter into a very limited scope of negotiations with the District in the hopes that we can obtain a successor agreement before the end of this school year. 

The issues that PAT has brought forward include a COLA for the 2020-21 school year of 3.5% and another 3.5% for 2021-22.  We are also seeking to make a revision to the way that class load/case load overages are paid, an extension of early retirement insurance benefits, and a package of programs and benefits that we believe will help PPS to attract, develop, support, and retain educators of color.

The District has brought forward the issue of COLAs, offering 2% for 2020-21 and 2.5% for 2021-22.  In addition, they wish to discuss a proposal for a new initiative they are calling the Accelerated Cohort program, changes to our safety language as it relates to the Student’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook, and Middle School schedules.  The District has not yet fully delivered their proposals regarding safety and Middle School schedules, but you can view what they have provided so far, as well as all PAT proposals, on our website.

We have had two meetings with the District in the last two weeks, which you can view on our YouTube channel.  We are scheduled to meet with the District again on Wednesday, May 19th, where we expect to hear the remainder of the District’s initial proposal.  A number of other dates have been calendared to continue bargaining with the mutual goal of arriving at a settlement before summer break.  If successful, this will ensure that we start the 2021-22 school year with a fully in-force CBA and allow us time to enter into full negotiations during the fall and winter of the 2021-22 school year for a new CBA that would take effect July 1st of 2022.  It will also allow for retroactive payment of the 2020-21 COLA before the start of the next school year.

As always, our success in bargaining depends on you and your support, so thank you for taking time to stay informed and engaged in this important process!

Continue reading

Register Today for OEA Summer Conference

OEA 2021 Summer Conference Register Today

July 19-23, 2021
Virtual Conference through OEA Events App

The OEA 2021 Summer Conference is virtual this year and offers a wealth of workshops and seminars covering topics important to our members in their classrooms, community, and union organizing. 

Each morning will start with two content sessions, with opportunities for networking and office hours in the afternoons. OEA values your time, and encourages you to register for the courses that best meet your learning needs and your personal schedule. Below is a sampling of the topics covered that week (some sessions offer PDU credit).

  • Building Our Local Leaders: Distributive
    Leadership in Action
  • Confronting White Nationalism in Schools
  • Engaging Our Newest Hires: Success from
    the Field
  • Integrating an Inclusive History and Social
    Science Curriculum in Your K-2 Classroom
  • Introduction to Grievances: Grieve, Gripe,
    Grumble?
  • Peer Conflict Resolution and Mediation
    Strategies
  • School and College Board Elections
  • Strong Start for the Fall: Building Community
  • The Role of a Building Representative in an
    Organizing Union
  • Transgender Inclusion
  • Weighted Workload: A Student-Centered
    Approach 

Download the program for the whole schedule and topics lined up for that week. A condensed participant agenda is also available. 

Apply to be on the PAT Advocacy Cadre Team!

Dear Educator--

PAT is seeking members to serve on next year’s Advocacy Cadre. To apply, fill out this application form by June 4th.

What is The PAT Advocacy Cadre?

This small group of members will work closely with UniServ Consultants to become experts on our contract, and will provide member to member support. 

The Advocacy Cadre will run a Zoom Advocacy Hotline, where Reps and other members can get immediate answers to questions about the contract and support to resolve problems in their buildings.

In addition, the Advocacy Cadre will provide support with Rep Training, answering member emails to [email protected], and creating materials to help members better understand contract issues.

You can read about this year's Advocacy Cadre here: www.pdxteachers.org/pat_advocacy_cadre

Cadre Members Commit to:

  • 2 days Advocacy Training August 17-18, 2021. (This will be held either live, or remotely, depending on safety recommendations at that time.)
  • 1 Zoom Hotline shift a week, during the school year, Mondays, 4:30-6:30pm at PAT.
  • In addition to answering the hotline, this time may include ongoing training and other advocacy work with Uniserv Consultants. Additional dates may be added depending on need.
  • This is a 1-year opportunity and commitment, paid at the OEA cadre-rate ($33/hour)

Responsibilities:

  • Assist members who come to Zoom Advocacy Hotline;
  • Respond to emails and calls from members;
  • Be a knowledgeable resource about the PAT contract and PAT systems for supporting members in different situations;
  • Follow procedure to inform UniServ Consultants of issues, determining next steps;
  • Potential additional release time/ pay for ongoing training or representation work;
  • Potential to shadow UniServ Consultants on assignment.

Qualifications:

  • Active membership;
  • Experience as a PAT building rep or other similar union experience preferred;
  • Interest in continued union advocacy work;
  • Special consideration given to applicants with an interest in pursuing work as a UniServ Consultant; 
  • Special consideration given to applicants with characteristics that help create a group that represents the racial diversity of our membership, and of the job-types that our members hold.

Goals for PAT:

  • Build capacity among members to enforce our contract, support member rights, and organize and problem solve in buildings;
  • Develop leadership within PAT that represents the diversity of our membership demographics and workforce positions;
  • Create a pathway toward UniServ Consultant work for interested members.

To apply:

1619: Centering Black History and Black Futures in Oregon: An Evening with Nikole Hannah-Jones

You are invited:

1619: Centering Black History and Black Futures in Oregon: An Evening with Nikole Hannah-Jones
Friday, May 7, 2021 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
REGISTER HERE

As we center our work in equity throughout the state, we are pleased to invite you to participate in a discussion with Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of “The 1619 Project” reframing the Black experience in American history.

This discussion, moderated by TV anchor Ken Boddie, will focus on how the inclusion of 1619 historical events into our educational system will further Oregon’s efforts at breaking down systems of oppression.

This event is geared to engage with Oregon educators statewide, with specific emphasis on our shared national history and “Centering Black History and Black Futures in Oregon”.

This event is sponsored by the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators (ORABSE) and the Oregon Department of Education.

Share the Flier!

Continue reading

COVID-19 Vaccines for Students 16+ and Families

Starting this week, PPS high school students 16 and older, and PPS families, will have the opportunity to sign up for a COVID vaccine appointment through a simplified process. 

Appointments will be at the Oregon Convention Center on Wednesdays.  To make sure students and families can access this opportunity, PPS will be running bus shuttles from 3 locations: Roosevelt, Jefferson, and Roseway Heights. 

PPS is still finalizing the sign-up process and translating communications into all supported languages, but I wanted to make sure you had this information now, so you can share it with students on Tuesday. 

If you teach students 16 or older, or know of PPS families who would benefit from support accessing the COVID vaccine, please tell your students about this opportunity, and let them know that a link to sign up will be emailed to the families of high school students, and sent through Remind.  

Here is a slide to share with students with some basic information and to the sign-up. 

The message below is being sent by PPS to families of PPS High School students, and has some additional information. 

 

Continue reading

President's Message, April 28, 2021

April has been another emotional month for educators. We started by preparing classroom spaces and material for this new phase in pandemic teaching. And once again, educators have demonstrated immeasurable creativity and care to meet the needs of both our students entering our physical classrooms, and those who continue to learn remotely.

It has filled my heart to see the joy of PAT members finally getting to meet students in-person. And despite the stress of once again redesigning our practice for hybrid learning, many educators are finding satisfaction in finally having class sizes small enough to interact with each and every student in the room. It is a reminder of what we have always known—that individual attention makes an enormous difference for our students, and that we need to continue working toward our vision of a public school system where students get their needs met by design.

I am also thrilled to report that this week our SEIU 503 colleagues—school custodians and nutrition service workers—finally came to a tentative agreement on their contract, including receiving the hazard pay and additional staffing that they have been asking for. SEIU leaders send their gratitude to PAT and all the PPS unions for coming together in solidarity to support our colleagues’ demands for respect and safety. 

Unfortunately, over the course of the month, COVID cases in Oregon have been steadily rising. Since spring break, Multnomah country has gone from “moderate” to “extremely high” risk, and case counts have doubled. 

Many people have been asking if the District will suspend hybrid learning and move exclusively to CDL if cases continue to rise. According to Governor Brown’s executive order, school districts MUST continue to offer in-person instruction at all schools unless case counts surpass 350 cases per 100 thousand residents over a 2-week period. As of Monday, April 26, Multnomah county was at 221 cases.  

In this environment, it is crucial that we hold the District accountable for following all of our safety agreements, and that we follow them ourselves. Please be vigilant in modeling all safety protocols and reinforcing them with your students, including wearing masks correctly, and maintaining physical distance. Please also make sure to use the safety checklist daily.

As part of her push to reopen in-person instruction, the Governor has tied state funding to being open for hybrid or full in-person instruction this spring. As long as COVID is spreading in the community, we know there will inevitably be positive cases in our schools. That is why our safety language is so critical-- it is designed to prevent the spread of COVID within our classrooms and schools. 

PAT is checking in with reps from every school with a positive case to make sure protocols continue to be followed when there is a positive case at school. So far, we have not heard of any COVID cases where transmission occurred at school, but we continue to monitor the situation closely.

We also continue to advocate for transparency in reporting positive cases in schools. At the April 14 school board meeting, PPS Chief of Systems Performance, Dr. Russell Brown reported that the District was in the process of creating a dashboard to share such information with the public. We have been following up, and were last told that the dashboard was expected to launch this week.

We have also been advocating to get vaccine sites set up at schools, starting with high schools in our most impacted communities. Now that our students 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated, we have an opportunity--and a moral imperative--to close the vaccine-access gap as quickly as possible, and protect our students and their families. Over the past several weeks, I have met with numerous state and county officials and agencies, as well as PPS leaders, to advocate for the urgency of getting these vaccine sites set up quickly, and we will continue to press the Governor’s office and area lawmakers.

I continue to be inspired by everything that you do to support our students, and what we’ve been able to do together as a union.

In Solidarity, 

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

Correction: Evaluations Due by May 28th

Last Advocate, we reminded everyone that evaluations for contract educators were due in HR by May 1st. We are sorry to say that we were wrong.

In the midst of all the negotiations this year, PPS asked us if we would agree to extend the contract teacher evaluation deadline to May 28th. The reason PPS requested the change was that many principals were having a difficult time finding ways to meet the timelines under CDL conditions, and that everyone would find that the extension would make the process less stressful. At that time, in early March, we said “yes” to the request. 

When we said “yes,” we stated that our one “condition is that for the remainder of the year the District continue to use the CDL eval tool.” The District agreed.

This year, the contract educator evaluations are due on May 28th. All educators will be evaluated using the CDL evaluation tool, even though we have moved to Hybrid education.

Understanding How External Job Postings Work

With the exception of Art and Elementary, positions in all other content areas have been opened up to external applicants as of Monday, April 26th. If you have not seen any vacancies posted in your subject area, that means there aren’t available positions at this time. 

Unlike the internal phase, there is not a designated week during which all vacancies are posted at once, everyone applies, and are then interviewed all during the same time period. Instead, it is done on a “rolling” basis, as vacancies are posted. According to the PAT contract, a vacancy is required to be posted for at least 5 days. But, vacancies may be posted at different times, as they become known. You can keep checking the list of vacancies to see what comes up. 

The five-day posting requirement applies only to vacancies posted by July 1st. After that, a vacancy must only remain posted for three days. Please also note that new vacancies in current, ongoing positions which become known within twenty-one calendar days prior to the first workday of the standard work year are not required to be posted. HOWEVER, if it is a newly created position, they must be posted for at least 3 days.

See Article 18.3 – Posting Procedures in the PAT contract. Also, review the 2021 FAQ #2 - Applying and Interviewing for Positions.

Donate to the Sick Leave Bank

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

Members may donate up to 40 hours of sick leave annually. Employees who have submitted notice of resignation are exempted from this maximum limit, and may contribute as many hours as they would like. 

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.

The PAT Sick Leave Bank (see PAT/PPS contract Article 17.2.1.2) provides aid for colleagues who have exhausted their accumulated leave balances but are unable to work due to extended or recurring personal illness. With the help of the Sick Leave Bank, they are able to avoid the additional hardships of lost salary and lost insurance coverage during their illness. 

The Sick Leave Bank is funded completely by voluntary contributions of sick leave days from PAT educators. Thank you for considering making a donation today!