President's Message: You Make Our Union Strong

Dear Educator,

With less than a month left of the 2021-22 school year, I want to recognize how much you contribute to the lives of your students, to our profession, and to our union.  

This year brought two major waves of COVID-19, a nation-wide crisis of crushing workload, transitioning in and out of CDL learning at some schools, and a critical shortage of educators and school staff. 

Because of you, it also includes countless moments of connection, joy, and growth for the 45,000 students we serve. 

Our schools are only possible because of the unparalleled professionalism, commitment, and creativity of educators and school staff. Despite the uncertainty of our world today, educators create meaning, build community, and work toward a better future, every single day. 

As we draw toward the conclusion of this exhausting school year, I want you to know, you are deeply appreciated, and you are making a difference. You make every day better for your students, and you make our union stronger. 

One of our union’s most important goals is to ensure that next year will be a better year for students, and a better year for educators. That is why we have been advocating for PPS to amend its proposed Budget for 2022-2023, which still includes a reduction in the number of classroom educators and Special Education staff serving students next year. Please watch the remarks that PAT President-Elect Angela Bonilla and I delivered to the PPS board this week, and join us in advocating for a budget that prioritizes smaller class sizes and direct support to our students. 

In Solidarity,

Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President Thiel

Donate to the PAT Sick Leave Bank

Do you have unused sick leave hours? Please consider donating them to help support PAT members  facing serious health issues.

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

The PAT Sick Leave Bank (see PAT/PPS contract Article provides aid for colleagues who have exhausted their accumulated leave balances and 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. 

You can donate hours using this online form, or go to our website for additional information.

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.


  • 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 as soon as possible.

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.

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

May Primary Election: Remember to VOTE by May 17th

Election day is less than a week away! Make sure your voice is heard: Return your ballot by Tuesday, May 17th.

It’s not too late to support our PAT PAC-endorsed candidates. 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:

Jo Ann Hardesty’s volunteer calendar

Sign-up to canvass for Jessica Vega Pederson, or find other ways to get involved

Help out AJ McCreary

Volunteer for Kaliko Castille

Here 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

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

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

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Islander Month

Our PAT Social Justice Committee invites you to celebrate ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER MONTH with your students. Please see our website for engagement opportunities and resources, including:

  • Lessons and Resources for your classroom
  • AAPI Read Alouds
  • AAPI Affinity Space
  • Community Events
  • And more!

Thank you to the educators who gathered these resources. Please read this note from Karen Liao, of our PAT AAPI Month Planning Committee:

I teach 2nd grade and have a student who consistently uses the word "American" when they mean "white." I'll remind them that Americans can be any race and they will apologize and change their language.. until our next discussion about race. I'm not upset with them because there is so much in mainstream culture that conflates “American” with whiteness. For me, this is the importance of AAPI Month -- when we can learn about and teach about the foundational roles AAPI have in America, not just in terms of infrastructure, labor, and culture, but also in terms of who gets to be an American. (Every elementary teacher should have I Am an American: The Wong Kim Ark Story by Martha Brockenbrough, Grace Lin, and Julia Kuo in their classroom.) If you are planning on teaching about Lunar New Year, or cultural practices and traditions from Asian or Pacific Islander homelands, STOP! Teach that any other month besides this one. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander American Month. 

Professional Learning Plan: Update from the PAT Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) Committee

On Tuesday, May 10th, Dr. Proctor’s office sent an email about a teacher professional learning plan. The same information went out in Teacher Connect earlier that day. 

When district senior leadership shared an earlier draft of this plan with us at Instructional Practices Council (IPC), our main feedback was a deep concern that school-based classroom teachers were not part of the plan’s development. While we cannot turn back time and include varied teacher perspectives from the beginning of this plan’s development, we suggested ways in which teachers can be involved going forward.

If you have read the letter from Dr. Proctor’s office, you can see that they have taken our advice and are making an effort to seek out teacher input. We encourage you to review the professional learning plan in this slide deck. You can also have a look at this FAQ and submit any questions still unanswered via this form. These are all linked in the email from Dr. Proctor’s office and Teacher Connect as well. 

And please join us at IPD Committee meeting next week, Wed., May 18th, 4:30 - 5:30 PM to hear from Kristina Howard, Interim Director of Teacher Professional Learning about how this plan has been developed so far. This will also be a time to ask about anything not clarified for you on the FAQ and give any additional feedback you may have. 

Information about how to join this meeting will be sent soon from the PAT office.

Instructional Framework Advisory Group: Another Update from the PAT IPD Committee

You may have seen the communication in this week’s Teacher Connect about the Instructional Framework Advisory Group. We wanted to share some more information with you and encourage you to share your input with our district leadership.

As with everything else, our message to senior district leadership around the Instructional Framework Development has been that teachers must be involved as full participants with agency to make decisions and shape final outcomes. When we were asked to nominate only 8 teachers for an advisory group to represent the diversity of our over 4,000 members we declined to participate in such a flawed process. Fortunately, the outcome of this was an open and honest discussion between PPS and PAT leadership about what it means to collaborate and how we can support each other to work together towards shared goals for our students.

The practical results are as follows:

  • On April 19, PPS Leadership emailed all teachers directly to ask for participants for an advisory group
  • Over 100 teachers indicated interest and 25 were invited to join the advisory group. There is also a group of 13 TOSAs and Mentor Teachers who were invited by their department heads to join.
  • To provide district-wide transparency, PPS Senior Leadership willingly agreed to:
    •  Share the names and roles of everyone on the core design team and also a summary of the work that has already been done. You can find that information here.
    • Create a google site with all documents, meeting materials, and recordings of meetings for the Advisory Group. In addition, every page on this site has a feedback form linked at the bottom and there is an FAQ which will be regularly updated.
    • Send weekly updates in Admin Connect and Teacher Connect which will also contain a link to the feedback form.

We have also shared our concerns about The New Teacher Project (TNTP) – both about the organization’s ties to corporate ed reformers and the fact that they’re outside contractors who have been hired during a time when schools are losing teaching positions. This remains an area where we do not see eye-to-eye.

Again, we encourage all members to share questions, ideas, experiences, and whatever else might help inform decisions about the development of the Instructional Framework via the pathways indicated above.

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?
  • Head reps should always be involved in the contract exception process at a site.
  • 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

Join Us for Party in the Park, May 20

Come join us on Friday, May 20th at 3:45 PM (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

PAT Educators of Color Social, May 27th

The PAT Racial Equity Committee is excited to host another social for PAT educators of color. Let’s toast to surviving the school year! Join us for food, fun & fellowship. Dinner and drinks will be provided at this family-friendly event at Amalfi’s, May 27th from 4:00-7:00 PM. RSVP today!

See the animated flyer!