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

Run to Be a PAT Delegate at the OEA RA

Nominations for all PAT Elected Positions are now open, and it’s never been easier to nominate yourself to be an OEA RA Delegate! To run to be an OEA RA Delegate, you can simply add your name to this online easy sign-up form (or you can also use the standard nomination form). We hope to have a full delegation from PAT, so please consider running!

OEA RA Delegates serve a 3-year term (2022, 2023, and 2024), and this year’s OEA RA will be held on April 29-30, 2022 (either virtually or in Portland). Responsibilities of an OEA RA Delegate include: attending the pre-RA training, attending the OEA RA, and voting on OEA policies, budget, legislative program, and OEA officers. 

The Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee is Looking for More Members!

This committee keeps things real and serves to be a source of intersectional support and collaboration for PAT members and the community. If you have a heart for social justice and are action oriented, you will feel right at home with this committee. Come once or come every month- we’ll be happy to see you either way! Here is the link to sign up.

Mark your calendar for December 15th, 4:30-6:30 PM! At this SJCO meeting we will:

  • Explore fresh ideas for organizing for social justice issues
  • Revisit the Divest Oregon coalition
  • Begin planning for Black Lives Matter Week of Action and Black History Month
  • Continue to advocate for PAT SPED educators

At our November 3 meeting, we had a presentation from Divest Oregon. This coalition is urging the Oregon State Treasury (Oregon Investment Council and Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read) to: commit to no new investments in fossil fuels and to phase out current fossil fuel investments over time. We encourage interested members to look into this; if you have specific questions about Divest Oregon, please enter them in this google form. We will get answers for you as soon as we can! 

Thinking Ahead About Retirement? Find Retirement Planning Resources Online

PAT has frequently hosted workshops on financial well being and planning for the future, led by veteran financial advisor Ed Foster.  Whether you are a new educator thinking ahead, or in the last years of your career, we now have Ed Foster’s sage advice available for you online, whenever you need it.

The IBB Workgroup Agrees to Continue

On November 4th and 5th, the PAT IBB Workgroup and District representatives met to discuss new elements regarding safety and student discipline that we hoped to be able to recommend to our respective bargaining teams. Remember, when we settled the 2020 - 2022 CBA, the ratification included terms that created the IBB Workgroup for one specific article - Article 9, “Student Discipline and Safety.” 

We were unable to reach an agreement that the two sides felt they could bring to their respective bargaining teams, but some progress was made. Most importantly, both sides reviewed the interests we all hold, and proposed possible modifications to existing language in Article 9.

The District’s interests revolved around reducing disproportionate discipline for traditionally underserved students, and the PAT team obviously held that interest too. In addition, the PAT team expressed interests in:

  • Safe learning environments for students and staff;
  • Discipline that creates real equity for all students;
  • fully-supported discipline system - including RJ, MTSS, and new Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook (SRRH) terms - implemented with fidelity across the entire District;
  • A program that is consistent and fair; and
  • A final outcome that creates trust in PPS for parents, students and educators.

Although we could not come to a consensus, the two sides felt that enough progress had been made that we should continue to work on the issue. Both sides agreed to two additional meetings.  

If the two sides reach consensus on some modified language and SRRH terms, your PAT IBB workgroup will present the language to the PAT Bargaining Team. If the Bargaining Team accepts the language, it will present the language to the PAT Executive Board for either a “do pass” or “no pass” recommendation to the general membership for ratification. Stay tuned for more to come.  

If you are reading this, please click this link to receive a small gift from your PAT Membership Committee.

Supporting Our Substitute Educators in Difficult Times

As we continue to feel the impact of the shortage of substitute educators, we know that part of the solution is to support and appreciate our substitute educator colleagues. 

Each month our PAT Substitute Educators Committee discusses working conditions for substitute educators. We ask our substitute educator members this:  “Which buildings provided a positive work experience and which buildings were difficult to serve?”  We use this information to present at Contract Administration meetings with PPS HR regarding administrative best practices. 

Some building administration don’t seem to understand how important it is to support substitute educators. However, some do a great job supporting guest teachers: Benson and Woodmere administrators and office staff were recognized for being really fantastic.  At these schools, administrators and/or office staff regularly helped provide breaks for the substitutes, made sure they got keys, and even provided the guest educator coffee and cookies.  

In most reports, it was the professional educators in the building who made the teaching experience for substitute educators a positive one.  On their behalf, thank you to all of you who make these efforts, and a special thanks to the professional educators in Lewis, Roosevelt, Franklin, and Hosford who were mentioned as staff who went above and beyond to assist the visiting PAT Substitute educators in their building.  Substitute educators in these buildings reported that teachers regularly stopped by their classes to make sure things were going well, assisted them with printing, and showed them where to find materials in the room they were assigned. 

Upcoming Events

November 17th: Nominations Open for PAT Elections. Learn more here.

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

  • December 1st, 4:30-6:30 PM: Bargaining Committee Meeting
  • December 1st, 4:30-6:30 PM: Instructional Professional Development Committee Meeting
  • December 6th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Legislative Committee Meeting (*Note new date)
  • December 8th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Membership Committee Meeting
  • December 8th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Racial Equity Committee Meeting
  • December 15th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Social Justice/Community Outreach Committee Meeting
  • December 15th, 4:30-6:30 PM: Substitute Committee Meeting

**All PAT committee meetings will be held virtually on Zoom for the time being

Other PAT Events:


  • December 6th, 4:30-6:30 PM on Zoom: Navigating the Student Loan Forgiveness Quagmire: Upcoming Webinar. RSVP here
  • January 6th, 4:30-6:30 PM on Zoom: Retiring Soon? Planning Workshop with Ed Foster. RSVP form coming soon
  • January 13th, 4:30-6:30 PM on Zoom: Navigating the Student Loan Forgiveness Quagmire: Upcoming Webinar. RSVP here
  • March 10th, 4:30-6:30 PM on Zoom: Mid-Career Retirement Workshop with Ed Foster. RSVP form coming soon

In-Person Events

  • December 14th, 11:30-5:00 PM: Teacher for a Day

Upcoming OEA Training and Events:

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