Letter from PAT to PPS Leadership: Listen to Families of Color

Dear Educator,

Last week, PPS announced an intention to move toward a Hybrid model of instruction in April.

As schools begin making plans to open buildings for in-person instruction, members of our union have expressed a deep concern for how reopening buildings, while Covid-19 is still spreading, will negatively impact our students of color, whose families have been most impacted by the pandemic.

These concerns are underscored by the fact that, to our knowledge, neither PPS nor ODE have gathered meaningful and widespread input from families of color to learn if the goal of returning to live instruction is in line with the needs and wishes of families of color in our district.

Looking at other large school districts around the country, there is a pattern that when schools have reopened, families of color have been the least likely to choose to attend live classes. In other words, in order to provide an in-person option, those districts are shifting resources away from students of color remaining in distance learning, in order to create an opportunity that will most likely benefit white students. Rather than closing the opportunity gap, the likely impact in these cases is to widen it. 

The PAT Executive Board sent the attached letter to state and district leaders. It asks the District to intentionally seek the input of educators and families of color, and to be transparent about the results, before shifting resources toward the goal of implementing a Hybrid instructional model.

We know that reopening our school buildings for live instruction is a complex issue, and that the conditions and dynamics are constantly shifting. We will be surveying all members in the coming week to hear your perspective on a Hybrid opening. Look for it in your email.

Elizabeth Thiel
http://www.pdxteachers.org/

Bargaining Brief- January 26, 2021

Dear Educator,

Your PAT Bargaining Team met with PPS on January 26th (Part 1, Part 2Part 3) to discuss the PAT’s proposals regarding support for students and families during COVID Comprehensive Distance Learning.  This was our third full session negotiating on the community proposals.

PAT initially proposed this language in August of 2020. For months, the PPS bargaining team refused to recognize the importance of making agreements to address community needs that impact our students’ access to learning.  The PAT bargaining team was forced to say that we would find it difficult to reach final agreement on other topics if the PPS team would not meaningfully address our community proposals.

Once they finally recognized that support for students and families is of the deepest importance to educators, the PPS team begrudgingly agreed to talk about language to shape a PAT and PPS partnership in these areas. 

While the District has agreed to support families with technology, basic needs, and some educational supplies, they are unwilling to honor the work of our members supporting students through affinity groups and other programs meant to build student voice, strength, and identity.  They are also unwilling to provide additional resources needed to better support students’ academic needs during distance learning.  

For example, PPS refuses to accept language that would enable PAT members and PPS building administrators to work together to access substitute educators for the purpose of supporting students who need extra adult support in CDL.

Specifically, PAT proposed:

A professional educator may request the assistance of, and a building administrator may approve, fully trained substitute teachers for daily support for students who have shown the need for additional academic instruction or social/emotional support.  A minimum of two substitute educators per building shall be identified as resources for this purpose. 

PPS rejected the proposal.  It is increasingly hard to understand why these common sense, collaborative commitments to meet the academic, social/emotional, and basic physical needs of traditionally underserved students would be rejected by Portland Public Schools.

We will continue to push this issue.  Although no bargaining team believes that it will achieve all the language it has proposed, we are unwilling to give up on contract language that PAT members believe will make an immediate impact on the lives of students. 

We would prefer to move on to addressing other elements in bargaining, such as finalizing the safety language and working conditions for Hybrid instruction, but we will not be partners in ignoring our students’ needs.

 

Continue reading

Forum Tonight to Discuss PPS Plans for Re-Opening Schools

PAT is hosting a forum tonight from 5:00 to 7:00 PM to identify concerns and to do our best to address questions pertaining to the District’s plan to move to a hybrid model. Please register as soon as possible and participate in this meeting. A registration link is in your e-mail. Please contact [email protected] if you have not received this registration link. After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing information about joining the meeting. We want to ensure the discussion is between PAT members only. Please do not share your meeting link when you receive it.

Information about Vaccines in your PPS Email

Dear Educator, 

We want to make sure you know how to get the information you need about vaccines. PAT has not had a role in planning the vaccine timeline or rollout, and the information we have is the same as what has been shared with you.

You should have received two emails in your PPS account today regarding vaccines. Please read them carefully and follow the instructions. 

We know that many of us have questions and concerns about the order in which Oregon is allowing people to get vaccines, and have questions about why educators have been prioritized before the elderly, communities of color, people with pre-existing conditions, and essential workers who have been working in-person all along. The decision about this order was made by Governor Brown, and has not been open to discussion or revision. 

Please know that refusing to get vaccinated during this phase will NOT help to get the vaccine to others faster, and may actually slow down the process for others. We encourage you to follow the instructions provided by OHA and PPS to get your vaccine during the appropriate “wave.” 

The first “wave” to have access to vaccination includes our PPS custodians, nutrition workers, bus drivers, and community partners who have already been working in-person, in addition to educators who are providing LIPI, and early-childhood educators. The PPS email from this morning has more information about upcoming waves.

How to get answers to your questions: 

 

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

PPS Plans for Moving to Hybrid Instruction

Dear PAT Educator,

 

Tonight, at the January 26th School Board meeting, Superintendent Guerrero and district staff will be presenting an update on the District’s plan to shift to hybrid instruction. 

 

We wanted to make clear that PAT had not seen these plans prior to today, when district leaders briefly presented it to all PPS union leaders. At this point, we have more questions than answers.

 

One thing we do know is that the District remains obligated to negotiate over how any shift to a hybrid model of instruction will affect working conditions of PAT members, including issues pertaining to safety and workload. 

 

We encourage members to join us in watching tonight’s School Board meeting starting at 6:00 PM. You can tune in live here

 

PAT will be hosting a forum this Thursday, January 28th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM to identify concerns and to do our best to address questions pertaining to the District’s plan to move to a hybrid model. Here is the link for our January 28th meeting. 

 

As we weather this pandemic, and the barrage of shifting plans, guidelines, and pressures, thank you for your constant support and advocacy for your students, your colleagues, and our community.



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

Oregon Health Authority's FAQ Regarding Vaccines and COVID-19

The Oregon Health Authority has released a lengthy list to answer the incalculable questions regarding the coming vaccine and COVID-19. We have listed some of their answers below, but please click here to see the whole document. Please also visit OHA's website for more information.

General
Q4. How soon after the second dose will the vaccine become effective?
A4. Clinical trials measured the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. Each vaccine
requires two doses.
• The Moderna vaccine is 94% effective two weeks after a person receives the
second shot. The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective one week after the second
shot.

Q5. Will I still need to wear a mask after I get the COVID-19 vaccination?
A5. The vaccine will keep you from getting sick, but it still may be possible to get,
carry and transmit the virus. Preventing illness and severe illness is certainly a
reason to get vaccinated. It will also take time for us to get everyone vaccinated.
We don’t yet know when we’ll be able to stop wearing masks and maintaining
physical distance, but OHA will continue to watch the spread of the disease in
Oregon. When the spread of disease is low enough, these additional protective
measures can be stopped.

Q6. How much will it cost for me to get the COVID-19 vaccination?
A6. For now, vaccine doses will be given to everyone at no cost.

Q7. Will there be enough COVID-19 vaccine for everyone?
A7. The vaccine may be scarce at first, so distribution will be prioritized. But as
COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing ramps up, eventually there will be enough
vaccine for everyone. This timing depends upon how many vaccines are approved
and the total supply of vaccine available through manufacturers. We hope by fall
2021, everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination can get one.

Q8. How will Oregon ensure equitable vaccine distribution?
A8. As COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will
ensure the distribution process is based on community involvement that will
provide an equitable system challenging the roles of power, privilege and racism—
informed by a newly assembled COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC).
The individuals who may receive vaccinations in Phase 1a are specified in
Oregon’s Phase 1a Vaccine Sequencing Plan which can be found on the OHA
COVID-19 vaccine website: https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov.

Q9. How will Oregon implement Phase 1a?
A9. Oregon’s Phase 1a Vaccine Sequencing Plan can be found on OHA’s
COVID- 19 vaccine website: https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov

Q10. Will OHA force me to get a COVID-19 vaccination?
A10. OHA does not plan to require the COVID-19 vaccination, but we do strongly
recommend vaccination for the safety and health of the entire community.
OHA 2390U (1/22/2021) 3

Vaccine distribution in Oregon
Q1. When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available in Oregon?
A1. COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Oregon on Dec. 15, 2020. The first rounds of
doses are going to health care workers who are exposed to COVID-19 through
their work. This includes people who work in hospitals or EMS staff. Also, people
who work or live in long-term care facilities are included in the first round.

Q4. Who decides which workers will get the vaccine first?
A4. OHA is committed to an equitable distribution of vaccine. OHA’s community
engagement team assembled a COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee to listen to
community members and provide input on how to prioritize vaccine distribution. This
committee will identify and prioritize which critical workers will receive vaccine first,
knowing that, in time, there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants one.

Q5. I am an education worker. When will I get vaccinated?
A5. Child-care and K-12 school and school district staff will be in the first group of
Phase 1b, after Phase 1a is complete. Information on where and when to get
vaccinated will be provided as soon as it is available.

Vaccine details:
Q1. I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered. Do I still need to get vaccinated
with a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available?
A1. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to people
regardless of a history of COVID-19 infection, with or without symptoms. They
don’t recommend testing to check for prior infection when deciding to get the
vaccine.

Q2. I’m pregnant. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccination?
A2. CDC doesn’t have any COVID-19 safety data on pregnant women, though
animal and human studies are ongoing, and more are planned to begin in
Jan. 2021. mRNA vaccines are not “live virus” vaccines. If a woman is part of a
group (i.e., health care worker) recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccine and is
OHA 2390U (1/22/2021) 5
pregnant, she may choose to get the vaccine in consultation with her medical
provider’s help in making an informed decision. Things to consider:
• Level of COVID-19 in the community and the risk of transmission
• The personal risk of acquiring COVID-19 (occupation or other activities)
• The risk of COVID-19 to her or her fetus
• The efficacy of the vaccine
• The side effects of the vaccine
• The lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy
• Women who take the vaccine and have fever as a side effect should take
acetaminophen (Tylenol)
• Routine testing for pregnancy before vaccination is not recommended

Q3. Are the vaccines interchangeable?
A3. Though Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made the same way, people must
get the same second dose from the same manufacturer of the first. Both are
equally effective and stop the spread of virus in the same way, so the people
should take whichever vaccine is available to them.

Q4. Is the COVID-19 vaccine a live virus?
A4. The mRNA vaccines are not a live virus.

Q8. When should I get the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
How will I remember?
A8. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses to promote a full
immune response. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be administered
21 days after the first dose, and the Moderna vaccine should be administered 28
days after the first dose. The ALERT IIS vaccine system will help make sure you
get a reminder.

Q9. Can a person receive the COVID-19 vaccine while they are sick?
A9. Those with mild illness may receive the vaccines with no effect on vaccine
safety or effectiveness. However, it is better that you recover from your illness, with
no symptoms, before getting vaccines to keep from spreading your illness to health
care workers who are administering the vaccine.

Q10. If one spouse or partner qualifies for a vaccine (i.e., over 65, doctor, nurse)
would the other spouse who does not fit qualification criteria also get the
vaccine?
A10. No. There will be very limited quantities of the vaccines in the early days of
distribution, so only those who are in priority groups in the first phases, such as
health care workers, identified workers, older adults and those with underlying
medical conditions will be able to receive the vaccines.

Q11. Are both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine the same amount? Is the second
dose less or more than the first dose?
A11. Both doses are the same amount for the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna
vaccine also uses two doses that are the same.

Q15. Do I need to be vaccinated in the same county I live in? Or work in?
A15. If you are eligible to receive a vaccination, you are encouraged to get
vaccinated in the county you live in but you can get vaccinated in any county in
Oregon.

Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI) FAQ

PAT Educators-

We know there have been a lot of questions surrounding Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI). To help provide some clarity, we put together a list of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about LIPI. The FAQ's are listed below (or click here for a PDF):

 

Limited In-Person Instruction (LIPI)- Frequently Asked Questions

 

Since the start of the school year, the Oregon Department of Education (“ODE”) Guidelines has allowed “Limited In-Person Instruction” (LIPI) for any local school district that is offering a fully Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) model of instruction to offer some in-person supports for students. Because of our collective bargaining power, PAT was able to negotiate parameters under which LIPI must operate moving forward in PPS. 

 

WHAT IS LIPI and WHERE DID IT COME FROM?

 

Q- What is LIPI? 

A- LIPI stands for Limited In-Person Instruction. When a school district is in Comprehensive Distance Learning, LIPI includes any live interaction between school personnel and students, whether this is inside or outside a building.  

 

Q- What are the state guidelines for LIPI? 

A- You can read the full Guidance for Limited In-Person Instruction During CDL HERE, but here are the key points:

  • 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

 

Q- When does LIPI start?

A- Governor Brown has stated that she expected all school districts to offer some in-person instruction by February 15. PPS is in the process of adding LIPI components and has stated that certain schools will be offering new LIPI opportunities as early as next week.

PPS has been participating in some LIPI all year. Any in-person offering for students while we are in CDL between March of 2020 until today falls under the LIPI category. The District has been offering the following ongoing in-person activities:

  • Athletics workouts 
  • Lunch program
  • Library book distribution
  • Special Education evaluation centers
  • Limited in-person assessments  

 

Q- What kinds of activities count as LIPI? 

A- According to ODE, LIPI could be provided to:

  • Address connectivity issues (allow school-access for students with limited or no internet access)
  • Provide academic support 
  • Access assessment (for instance, SpEd Testing Centers)
  • Provide social, emotional, or mental health support (for instance, small affinity groups, outside social interaction, counseling groups)
  • Build educator-to-student relationships 
  • Support live peer-to-peer interaction (for example, athletic workouts at high schools)
  • Support ongoing engagement and attendance
  • Build school community and culture
  • Ensure culturally relevant and sustaining pedagogy
  • Prepare for a return to in-person instruction
  • Provide voluntary supplemental supports

 

Q- Who is in charge of designing the specific LIPI program at my school?

A- The District has charged building administrators with making LIPI plans.

Building administrators are obligated to develop and organize LIPI in a way that is compliant with all the terms of the signed agreement between PAT and PPS, and with guidance provided by the Oregon Department of Education. 

 

OUR AGREEMENTS AROUND LIPI

Q- What did PAT negotiate regarding LIPI?

A- Your PAT bargaining team negotiated the terms of working conditions and safety protocols. Because the ODE has given all school districts the ability to conduct LIPI whenever a district believes it is necessary, PAT could only bargain the safety guidelines and working conditions under LIPI You can read the signed agreement here. (More specific info is addressed later in this document)

 

Q- Do I have to teach LIPI?

A- No. It is at the discretion of every single educator whether or not they will volunteer to do LIPI. After volunteering, if an educator feels that conditions at their school are not safe enough, they can withdraw from volunteering by providing five (5) workdays’ notice to the District. 

 

Q- If I volunteer to do LIPI, is this on top of my CDL work? If so, how will that work and when will it happen? 

A- Educators who provide both LIPI and CDL, and who provide LIPI during teacher-directed time, can do an equivalent amount of teacher-directed time plus one hour per week to plan LIPI instruction outside of the work day. The additional time shall be compensated at their hourly rate.

 

Q- If we volunteer for LIPI and get COVID, do we have to use our own sick time for quarantine, etc.?

A: Not necessarily. If you need to quarantine due to exposure to COVID, you cannot teach LIPI.  If you can still perform your work for CDL, you do not need to take any sick leave. If you are unable to work in CDL due to illness, you would use your sick leave. 

 

Q- If I’m only doing CDL, do I have to plan for LIPI and/or meet with educators working with my students in LIPI?

A- No. If you are only doing CDL, then you only plan for CDL. The educators providing LIPI will plan for LIPI. At this time, PPS has not provided time for CDL and LIPI educators to meet, so this is NOT an expectation.

 

Q- How will LIPI impact those of us that have been teaching from our classrooms?

A- Our agreement requires the building administrator to prioritize you staying in your classroom, unless they cannot find adequate space for LIPI activities. Admin is obligated to make real efforts to find alternative space and is required to demonstrate that they did so before using the classroom of any educator that has been using the space for their CDL work. 

 

Q- If I do not volunteer, will I suffer any negative consequences?

A- No.

 

OTHER QUESTIONS ABOUT LIPI

 

Q- Do all students have to attend LIPI? Is it okay for me to help families understand that it is optional?

A- LIPI is optional for all students and does not replace CDL. If any families need help in understanding this, then you should provide as much clarification and accurate information as you can to them.

 

Q- How were school sites chosen for LIPI?

A- The District stated they "are beginning with schools that have child care on site as well as CSI schools and two high schools. The general timeline that we are working from at this time is that the next round to begin in early February will be TSI/Title schools, and everyone else will begin sometime in mid-February. Secondary schools are focusing on students who have not been engaging in CDL or are in need of credit recovery".

 

Q- Is there an expectation for any certain number of teachers to volunteer? What if no one volunteers?

A- No. Building administrators will prepare their LIPI plan based on student need. Then, they will ask educators at their school if they would like to volunteer. If not enough educators volunteer, the District may employ substitute educators. 

 

Q- Do I have to be vaccinated to volunteer for LIPI?

A- No, this up to the discretion of the individual educator. As of January 21st, there are NO requirements that educators receive vaccinations in order to work.

 

Q- If my students are receiving reading or another academic area during LIPI, does that mean they do not need to do the CDL work for that academic area?

A- No, LIPI is supplemental to CDL. Students must still complete their CDL work.

 

Q- Do students have to wear masks if they are participating in LIPI?

A- Yes. According to the new ODE Ready Schools Safe Learners guidance, “Students who abstain from wearing a face covering, or students whose families determine the student will not wear a face covering during On-Site instruction must be provided access to instruction. Comprehensive Distance Learning can and should be provided when this decision is values-based. However, additional provisions do apply to students protected under ADA and IDEA.”

 

Q - I’m a substitute educator. What is my role in LIPI and what rights do I have? 

A- LIPI jobs may be posted. As a substitute, you are able to accept or reject these jobs as you see fit. If you accept a job and change your mind, you are able to cancel the job per the procedures outlined in the Substitute Employee Handbook. 

 

Q- My PFSP colleagues are asking if they will be required to do LIPI?

A- No. PFSP members have a similar agreement to the PAT, so participation in LIPI is voluntary.

 

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

President's Message

It has been a jarring week for our democracy. Last Wednesday, we saw a mob overtake the US Capital in an effort to subvert certification of the November election results and the transition of power. 

This was the culmination of four years of hate and misinformation coming from our nation’s highest office. And it once again illustrated the racist reality of our country’s policing practices. We are all still processing what occurred and what it means—thank you for the important role you have in helping your students do the same.

Last Wednesday morning, we also found reason to hope. The historic victories for Senators Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff in Georgia are the result of years of organizing by Black leaders like Stacy Abrams, and so many others.

The new landscape in DC creates the possibility of real progress toward economic justice, protecting the climate, and reversing racism in all the ways it is built into our society.

And starting January 20th, we also have new hope that our nation’s elected leaders will enact policies that will get this pandemic under control, and will give public schools the support we will need for a safe return to in-person instruction. 

Unfortunately, Oregon is moving in the wrong direction. 

Governor Brown has abandoned the metrics that have guided the state’s effort to safely re-open schools for in-person instruction, and that have been a key strategy in keeping community spread relatively low. Now she is pressuring districts to open schools in-person by February 15, regardless of community spread, and despite the fact that the disease continues to have an outsized impact on communities of color.

The Governor’s announcement has generated an onslaught of public pressure to open schools immediately. 

Last week, we surveyed our members to find out what you would do if you were directed to return to live instruction before a vaccine is available to all school staff.  While the survey was only open for a day and a half, we got a tremendous response—2,927 unique participants, or about 84% of members. The results speak for themselves:

  •     27.5% said that they would take a medical or family leave to protect their health or the health of someone they care for.
  •     41% said they would refuse to go back or take other direct action.
  •     Only 9% said they would go back without objection. 

We also disaggregated the data by grade-level and by race. There was little difference in the answers of our early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school teachers. However, educators of color were substantially more likely to say they would refuse to go back or take a medical leave (76.4%) than were white educators (66.5%).

You can see the results here.

Clearly, the District will not be able to open schools fully until there are conditions that make educators feel safe.

In the meantime, we are working with the District to formalize and enact agreements to create LIPI (Limited In-Person Instruction) opportunities for students. Read more about that below. 

Things continue to change quickly, and we all are anxious for a time when we can once again see our students and each other live and in person. 

But the safety of our members, as well as our students and their families, will always be the central concern of PAT. We will not let political expediency trump science in the debate over a return to in-person instruction.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

COVID-19 Vaccines for Educators

Last night we learned through the Governor’s press release, that early learning and K-12 educators and staff will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting January 23rd, along with childcare providers and everyone 65 and over. We have not received any more information than what was in the press release, but will keep you informed as we learn more. 

Please note, Governor Brown said NOT to contact your health care provider at this time; we expect more information about vaccine distribution to be announced on Friday.

Bargaining for Racial Equity

Recruiting and retaining educators of color in our profession is a goal of our union, and is essential for the well-being of our students and the future of our profession. Fighting for racial equity in our school system is a core value. One powerful tool we have to further this work is our contract, and we improve our contract through collective bargaining.

Our bargaining team has been revamping the bargaining proposals that we developed last school year to fit the new landscape in which we will be bargaining. There are some proposals we will need to put off or tone down in the face of the economic turbulence we currently face. But it is crucial that we amplify proposals designed to better support our educators of color. To do that, we need to listen to our members of color and what they need.

In December, our bargaining team, bargaining committee, and racial equity committee came together to generate and discuss bargaining concepts that center racial equity. We came together again last week, with bargaining and racial equity leaders from Beaverton, Hillsboro, Eugene, and Salem to discuss coordinated bargaining for racial equity—a strategy to strengthen our power by organizing around the same demands in multiple locals. 

As a next step, we are working on creating a survey for all our members of color to give feedback on the bargaining concepts that were generated in these meetings or otherwise submitted to the team, and intended to better support members of color in our union and in our schools.

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. 

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.

We reached conceptual agreement on all points last week and you can look for the final copy of the language attached to the next Bargaining Brief.

Getting Organized for Contract Negotiations

As we prepare to start negotiations over a new PAT contract, it is vital that every PAT member knows how we are developing our capacities and structures to organize members to demonstrate our solidarity. It is through organizing and action-- both internally with members and externally with parents, labor, and community allies-- that we build our power and win a just contract that moves us towards the schools our students deserve. 

Get a PAT Shirt from your Organizer

PAT Blue emblazoned with the words It’s Time for the Schools Our Students Deserve are currently being distributed by your building organizers. Please make sure you complete the t-shirt order form that they circulated and keep an eye out for a communication from your organizer on when and where you can pick your t-shirt. 

Use your 1:10 Organizing Structure

When things are happening fast, we use our organizing structure to quickly relay messages or have conversations directly with every member in our buildings. Here’s how it works:

The Head Internal Organizer, Erika Schneider, communicates with Zone Organizers.

The Zone Organizers call the Building Organizers in their Zone.

The Building Organizers communicate with the 1:10 Organizers.

The 1:10 Organizers each talk to up to 10 members at their site.

To make this system work, we need enough 1:10 Organizers at every site, to make sure your Building Organizer has a team to help get the word out to everyone. Please respond to your Building Organizer when they contact you. It is important we get your input.

What if my building doesn’t have an organizer? 

If you aren’t sure if your building has an organizer, please consider stepping up to take on the role during this important time with bargaining. We need a strong organizing structure in every school, and we can only achieve that when people take on leadership roles within their building. And if your Building Organizer could use another teammate, please consider stepping up as a 1:10 Organizer during this crucial time.

Contact Erika Schneider ([email protected]) or Peter Brogan ([email protected]) to find out more about being a Building Organizer at your site. 

Meet your Zone Organizers

A big thanks to these PAT members who are the lead organizers for these Zones:

Erika Schneider (Llewellyn Elementary School) -- Head Internal Organizer

Mike Bauer (Cleveland High School) --- Internal Organizer Lead

Beyoung Yu (Rosa Parks Elementary) -- Zone 1 

Jeff Grier (Woodlawn Elementary/SLP) -- Zone 2

Joyce McShane (ACCESS @ Vestal) --Zone 3

TBA--Zone 4

Shannon Foxley (da Vinci Middle School) -- Zone 5

Maggie Raczek (Lincoln High School) -- Zone 6

Ami Fox (Cleveland High School) -- Zone 7

Tina Lamanna (Markham Elementary) -- Zone 8

Julie Whitaker (Bridlemile Elementary) -- Zone 9

Each Zone Organizer is responsible for supporting and communicating with the Building Organizers in approximately ten buildings in their assigned zone. 

Gratitude and Congratulations for Cynthia Campos

Cynthia Campos, our UniServ Consultant, has accepted a new position within OEA. Starting this month, she will be working on behalf of our fellow OEA members in Higher Education. Cynthia has been a huge support to our members and our union, and our Community College colleagues are lucky to get her support and expertise. Will will miss her, and wish her the best of luck as she pursues this new endeavor! Luckily, we will still get to work with her through OEA.

We are interviewing candidates for the UniServ Consultant position at PAT this week and hope to have a new staff member to introduce to you soon. In the meantime, we are fortunate to have our own recently-retired Kathi Koenig in to fill the gap. 

Know Your Benefits: Family and Medical Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on Dec. 31, 2020. It required employers to provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave. Although employers may voluntarily choose to continue the expanded leave, PPS has decided not to. 

The traditional (original) form of Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is still in effect, but this form of leave is unpaid. PPS allows employees to use their accrued time to “pay themselves” while they are on an approved leave. If you are approved for a medical leave to care for yourself or a family member, you will be paid using your accrued leave balances in this order: family illness leave, sick leave, personal leave, then reserve sick leave. 

Leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is an entitlement so long as you have met the Oregon eligibility requirements

PPS recently decided to outsource their FMLA leave processing to a vendor called FMLA Source. You contact them to begin the process of applying for medical leave. 

This is an extremely stressful time.  Please take care of yourself, and know that medical and family leave may be options to support your health and that of your family members.

Study Leave and Unpaid Leave-- Deadlines to Apply

Study Leave - Full Year
Applications Due 2nd Monday in February

Details from the PAT/PPS Contract, Article 17.4.6 - "Completed applications with all necessary information for fall semester for full year study leaves must be filed with the Study Leave committee by the second Monday in February preceding the year of study leave."

Full-Year Unpaid Leave
Applications Due March 1
Details from the PAT/PPS Contract, Article 17.4.1 -"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

PAT Elections

On February 8, an e-mail will be sent to PAT members’ PPS email accounts, which will include a link to their ballot, candidate statements, photos, and videos of candidate speeches.

The following are the candidates for the major offices in this election:

Executive Board (vote for 4):

  • Angela Bonilla
  • Ami Fox
  • Shannon Foxley
  • Tina Lamanna
  • Beyoung Yu

The ballot will also include candidates for OEA RA Delegate positions and for NEA RA Delegate positions.

Please make sure to vote by Thursday, February 25, 2021, by 5:00 PM, outside of your work hours.

Executive Board Candidate Questionnaire

Pursuant to Section 2, subsection E of the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook, members now have the opportunity to submit written questions for the Executive Board candidates who are currently running for office. The Nominations and Elections Committee will choose 4 member-generated questions to ask candidates to respond to via an optional, electronic questionnaire.  PAT Members will receive a copy of candidate responses along with the voter pamphlet on February 8, 2021. Please submit your questions via this electronic form by the end of business Friday, January 20.

Rally, March, & Caravan to Inaugurate Justice

 

In November, the PAT Executive Board signed the Defend Democracy Coalition Pledge. 

On January 20th, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm in Irving Park, the Defend Democracy Coalition is holding a rally and march to celebrate the defeat of the Trump administration at the ballot box and to send a loud message to the Biden-Harris administration that our movements for social, racial, and economic justice are demanding an ambitious agenda of change. 

Dumping Trump and turning the senate blue was just the beginning. This agenda includes such vital demands as: Medicare for all, real COVID relief, protection of immigrants, and reallocating money away from policing and into human needs. 

Put on your PAT blue on January 20th and join the labor contingent at the march. 

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, or 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. 

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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