President's Message: Putting PAT on Stronger Footing

This year, more than ever, it feels like a huge accomplishment to reach the final week of the school year. We have been through more this year than we can account for, including: 

  • Re-creating our practice to shift to online instruction.
  • Shifting our union activities and supports to the virtual realm.
  • Navigating constantly changing recommendations and requirements from the CDC and the state.
  • Fighting for contract language to protect the health of educators, students, and the community, and to establish reasonable working conditions. 
  • Recreating our practice again to shift to hybrid.
  • Constantly serving as advocates for our colleagues, and our students and families, through the unprecedented challenges of this year. 

These challenges have continued to evolve, and there have been no easy answers. But throughout this year, our union continues to grow stronger

Our PAT leaders, including our Building Reps, Executive Board Directors, Committee Chairs, Bargaining Team members, Organizers, Advocacy Cadre, PAT officers, and our PAT staff, have gone above and beyond this year. As we navigate a global pandemic and the myriad ways it impacts our schools and community, our member-leaders have remained committed to finding common ground, building solidarity, and working together toward our shared goals. 

Alongside the challenges of the year, we have also shared some triumphs. The shift to virtual meetings came with an unexpected increase in participation in our Representatives Assemblies, and all nine of our standing committees. And we have started new traditions in our union that I hope will live on for years to come, including creating our first PAT Advocacy Cadre, celebrating four PAT Heritage Months, and reintroducing our PAT scholarship to now support Aspiring Educators of Color.

As you wrap up your year, please take a moment to acknowledge your colleagues who are retiring, switching schools, or leaving PPS. It isn’t easy to say goodbye virtually. 

I miss seeing you all in person, and am optimistic that as vaccination rates continue to rise, Covid transmission will continue to decline, and that next fall we will be able to resume all the in-person meet-ups and gatherings that fortify our connections to one another.

We will update you in August with logistics for all our fall activities.

This summer, I hope you will take time to relax, recharge, and care for yourself and your loved ones. Please remember that as an educator, your well-being is essential to your ability to care for your students and school community.

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel
PAT President