President’s Message: What We Really Want for Educator Appreciation Week

Dear Educator, 

At the PPS School Board meeting on April 19, the board passed its resolution to recognize Teacher and Administrator Appreciation Week, May 2-6, 2022. The board invited me to give remarks, which you can read below: 

Good Evening Chair DePass, Vice Chair Scott, Student Rep Weingard, Deputy Superintendent Hertz, and members of the Board,

Thank you for taking the time this evening to reflect on and appreciate the incredible value of our professional educators in Portland Public Schools. 

As a PPS parent myself, I could not be more grateful to the educators at Vernon and McDaniel who have had such a deep impact on my own children, teaching them not just knowledge and skills, but also, how to be in community, how to create positive change, and how to pursue what you love, embrace what makes you unique, and support others to do the same.

As the President of the Portland Association of Teachers, I have the incredible honor of representing more than 4,000 educators in PPS, some of the most dedicated and community-minded workers in our society. Every educator I know chose this profession because of a profound belief in the promise of our youth, a passion for learning, and a steadfast commitment to building a more just and equitable society.

This passion and commitment is on display every single day, in every school, in countless interactions with students. 

As you all know, these last two years have been an incredibly challenging time for our profession. Educators have had to redesign their practices over and over, and have been there at every step to support students facing unprecedented struggles and challenges. 

Despite the uncertainty in our society, educators do more than seems possible to make each day joyful, responsive, and productive, for every student that comes through their door.

And this year, even educators with 10, 20, 30 years of experience have faced challenges beyond what they have ever seen. I think we can all agree that what schools provided before the pandemic is not adequate to meet the needs of today.

Knowing that, teachers across the District ask themselves every day: What do these students need now? What is most important? How can I provide it for them?

Just so, as a district, we need to ask: What do our students need now? And what do educators need to provide it for them? 

As we reflect on the value of our professional educators, please know that the things that educators need to feel appreciated are the same things that inspired us to become educators in the first place: 

First, educators want the teaching and learning conditions that honor the role that public education plays in our society and in our students' lives. This includes clean and safe school buildings and classrooms. (Thank you to our custodians. We need more of them, and we need to pay them a fair wage). And it includes support for our students in the building, including whole-child enrichments, and more Special Education and ELL staff. 

Second, educators want to the be provided the tools we need to meet the needs of our students, including time in the workday to plan, collaborate, and communicate with families, and smaller class sizes and caseload so we can give each student the attention they deserve

Finally, educators ask to be treated as the professionals we are, and to be listened to all year long

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

Nominations & Elections: Run For Interim Seats on the PAT Executive Board

The PAT Nominations & Elections (N&E) Committee announced that there will be an interim election for two PAT Executive Board Director positions on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022 (terms of positions are July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023).

Nominations for these positions opened at the April RA on April 6th, 2022, and will close at 5:00 PM on Monday, May 2nd, 2022. To nominate yourself for these positions, please use this nomination form

 Nomination forms must be submitted electronically to Jennifer Dixon ([email protected]) by 5:00 p.m. on May 2nd, 2022.  Any PAT member in good standing may run for this position. Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. Learn more about Executive Board Director responsibilities.

In accordance with our bylaws, the Representative Assembly will elect the interim eboard directors. Voting will occur at the May 11th Virtual RA. Only elected reps, who are registered for the RA and present during the time of voting, will be permitted to vote. There will be no nominations from the floor due to our online format. 

Candidate speeches will be given at the May RA. The Voters’ Pamphlet and Ballots will be sent electronically to building representatives in attendance at the May 11th PAT RA.

For more information, you can refer to the Nomination Letter to All Members (from the PAT Nominations and Elections Committee, which was also linked in the April 6 Advocate), or to the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.

Advocacy: Deadline for Contract Exceptions May 13th

Deadline: The deadline this year is Friday, May 13th, 2022 (for Contract Exceptions for next academic year). Contract Exceptions are welcomed prior to this date. When Contract Exceptions are received before the deadline, it provides more time for documents to be reviewed and questions to be answered. At times, the Advocacy Committee needs additional information prior to making a decision. Find the Contract Exception form here

What is a Contract Exception: A Contract Exception is a process that allows a worksite to apply for an exception to the terms and conditions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). While creating exceptions to our contract language is not encouraged, we recognize that specific worksites may have a specific need for a given year. This process allows for that need to be considered. Contract Exceptions must be approved by the PAT Advocacy Committee and the District prior to implementation. A contract exception is valid only for the school year for which it was approved. 

Who decides if my school should submit an exception for approval: Contract Exceptions are member driven, so should be initiated by educators. 

If referencing a previous year’s form, double check that you have the correct article number. Here is the current contract.

Some key things to remember:

  • The article number needs to be specific (eg 7.7.1) to the requested exception.
  • Double check your math.
  • You MUST include copies of schedules or calendars that reflect the current and proposed changes. Identify changes to teacher hours, student hours, planning time, etc. 
  • Consider and address the impact on Specialists vs. Gen Ed teachers.
  • Required: What is the option for members who oppose the exception?
  • Review the FAQ’s here.

Role of the Committee when reviewing:

  • Protect member rights
  • Support member needs
  • Ensure the integrity of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 
  • Do no harm to the bargaining process and/or open grievances

Solidarity with Custodians and Nutrition Service Workers

Like the PAT,  the union that represents custodians and nutrition service workers, SEIU 503, is entering contract negotiations with the District this year. They have been advocating at School Board meetings and in the community that the District demonstrates how much it values their work by paying them a living wage.

Even though PPS has more than 60 full-time custodian positions posted, they continue to go unfilled. The lack of custodial staff means that the custodial workers on the job cannot keep up with the demanding workload of keeping classrooms and bathrooms clean.

An SEIU survey found 72% of workers report they are too short-staffed to keep up with current needs, 48% say the problem is getting worse and nearly one in five say they are not likely to return to work at the District in the upcoming school year.  

The PAT stands in solidarity with SEIU’s demands on the District: 

  • Pay competitive wages. Starting wages of $14.40 an hour for cafeteria staff and $16.70 for custodians will not attract or retain quality workers. 
  • Hire enough staff so these essential workers can make our schools safe, healthy places for the children in our community. 

Show your solidarity and take action by signing SEIU’s petition We Need Safe and Healthy Schools! 

Please save the date: SEIU rally at Cleveland High School, June 7th @ 6:00pm. More info coming soon.

PAT’s End-of-Year Party in the Park, May 20th

Come join us on Friday, May 20th at 3:45pm (or anytime after school) at Laurelhurst Park to help celebrate the (almost) end of the school year! It’s been over two years since we’ve been able to hold our annual Party in the Park, so we are excited to finally be able to gather together again! Food and drinks will be provided (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Please feel free to bring your families, too!

RSVP here today

Registration Coming Soon! OEA Summer Conference

Save the Dates for the OEA Summer Conference in Bend, OR! Two distinct conference opportunities will be offered to fit your needs:  

Virtual Conference: Thursday, July 14  

In-Person Conference: Tues., July 19 - Thurs., July 21 Riverhouse Hotel on the Deschutes 3075 N Hwy 97, Bend, OR 97703 

Registration should open Friday, April 29! 

See our flier here!


Help Elect Candidates Who Will Fight For Us

Ballots are dropping this week, and our endorsed candidates need your help! Let’s work together to get them into office so that they can fight for us, our students, and all Portlanders. 

Sign up with a campaign to knock on doors, send texts, make phone calls, or lend a hand in other ways:

Below is the complete list of PAT PAC’s endorsed candidates. Learn more about them on our website.

Portland City Council

Position 2: AJ McCreary

Position 3: Jo Ann Hardesty

Multnomah County
Chair: Jessica Vega Pederson

District 2: Susheela Jayapal

Metro Council

President: Lynn Peterson

Oregon House of Representatives

HD 28: Dacia Grayber

HD 33: Maxine Dexter

HD 41: Kaliko Castille

HD 43: Tawna Sanchez

HD 44: Travis Nelson

HD 45: Thuy Tran

HD 46: Khanh Pham

Oregon Senate:

SD 17: Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

Also check out OEA PAC’s endorsements for statewide candidates:

Governor: Tina Kotek

Oregon Labor Commissioner: Christina Stephenson

U.S. Senate: Ron Wyden

U.S. Congress (CD1): Suzanne Bonamici

U.S. Congress (CD2): No Recommendation

U.S. Congress (CD3): Earl Blumenauer

U.S. Congress (CD4): Val Hoyle

U.S. Congress (CD5): Jamie McLeod-Skinner

U.S. Congress (CD6): Andrea Salinas

Whoever you choose to vote for, make sure to get your ballots in by May 17!

The PAT PAC is funded entirely through member contributions, not through dues dollars. Learn more about the PAT PAC here.

It's Time for PAT Rep Elections

It is time to elect your site’s PAT Building Representatives for next school year! Each site is entitled to one Representative for every nine members.

What do Building Reps do? Our union works because Reps do a lot! That’s why it is important to have a full team of Reps to share the load. 

Here are some of the responsibilities Reps take on: 

  • Come to Representative Assemblies at PAT each month
  • Hold meetings for PAT members at their site
  • Educate members about our contract
  • Advocate to protect member rights and due process
  • Meet with building administrators to solve problems
  • Organize members around issues at your site or in the District 

Ideally, each school has a diverse team of Reps that includes educators from a variety of grade levels and specialties, one that mirrors the racial and gender diversity of your site. Think about who you believe would be a good representative, and talk to them about running, too.

Our building elections are how we ensure that Reps at each site are trusted and respected leaders. It is crucial that members have a voice in who is representing them, and that everyone knows the process and has access to running and voting. If you’re interested in running to be a Rep, let your current Head Rep know.


  • Every site must hold a Rep election every year.
  • Only PAT members can vote, and only PAT members can run to be a Rep.
  • Each site should create a ballot and hold their election before the May 11th RA.

For more information (including: How to Hold a Building Rep Election, Instructions for Creating Your Ballot (and the Ballot Template), Where to Report Your Elections Results, etc.), please visit 

Upcoming Events

Save the Dates for Upcoming PAT Events and Socials

We are excited to announce several events hosted by PAT and offer our members more opportunities to gather and connect. Mark your calendars and be on the lookout for more details on the following events:

  • May 20th, 3:45 PM: End of Year Party in the Park 
  • May 27th, 4:30 PM: Racial Equity Social
  • June 8th, 6:30 PM: Retirement Celebration

May Primary Dates

  • Wed. April 27, 2022 - Ballots mailed
  • Tue. May 17, 2022 - Primary Election Day
  • Drop off ballots by 8:00pm May 17th

April 29-30th, OEA Rep Assembly, Holiday Inn Portland, Columbia Waterfront

PAT Rep Assembly and Committee Meetings- Join the committee mailing list to receive a Zoom Link.

  • May 11th, 4:30-6:30 PM: May PAT Rep Assembly
  • May 18th, 4:30-6:30 PM: IPD Committee Meeting
  • May 25th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Legislative Committee Meeting
  • May 25th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Racial Equity Committee Meeting
  • May 25th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Membership Committee Meeting
  • May 26th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Social Justice/Community Outreach Committee Meeting*
  • May 26th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Substitute Committee Meeting*

*These meetings have been moved to Thursday over the usual Wednesday scheduling

**Unless otherwise noted, all PAT committee meetings will be held virtually on Zoom for the time being

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