President's Message: Listen to Educators

Thank you to all of you who were able to come to one of our recent PAT Listening Sessions on the workload and staffing crisis in PPS. 

Our recent survey made it clear that educators are burdened with enormous workloads and added stress this year. If we do not change course, our staffing crisis could get much worse. 

District and state leaders heard directly from educators about what we are experiencing in our classrooms, and what immediate and longer-term solutions are required to make things better. 

More than 300 people participated in our three listening sessions:

  • 74 PAT members signed up to give testimony.
  • 293 PAT members signed up to listen and support their colleagues.  
  • All 7 PPS School Board directors came to at least one session. 
  • Senior PPS Central Office leaders Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, Deputy Superintendent Shawn Bird, Chief of Staff Jonathan Garcia, and Chief Human Resources Officer Sharon Reese all attended a session. 
  • Oregon Senators Michael Dembrow and Lew Frederick, who both serve on the Oregon Legislature’s Joint Education Committee, each attended two sessions.
  • OEA President Reed Scott-Schwalbach, OEA Vice President Enrique Farrera, and OEA staff members Jared Mason-Gere, Jacob Rivas, and all our PAT staff attended to hear from you directly.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to speak or to listen, and to work with us identifying and implementing solutions. Although we are facing unprecedented challenges this year, we know we can find solutions that will work, if decision-makers listen to educators. 

Over three intense and often emotional evenings, educators shared candid experiences of what it’s like teaching in the current staffing crisis, the toll it’s taking on ourselves and our students, and the enormous level of stress that school staff are experiencing. 

Almost every speaker addressed the need for significantly more staffing in the long run, and more TIME this year for educators to plan, collaborate, and prepare for the overwhelming demands of our jobs.

In order to continue serving our students during this current staffing crisis, we need to take care of the educators and school staff that we still have. We cannot afford to lose any more educators. 

This means making changes NOW to make our jobs more manageable. In the long term, we need to create the working and learning conditions that will make a career in education the incredibly fulfilling and meaningful jobs they can be. 

We are calling on our local and state leaders to work with us to create immediate relief and long term improvements, or public education in our state may never recover. 


In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President