President's Message: Look for the Light

Hello Educators,

At the last board meeting, there were parents and educators who spoke to the issues in Special Education. They raised concerns about the push towards “Inclusion” for our students with Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). One spoke to her daughter's multiple suspensions during her kindergarten year until she was placed in a focus classroom where she began to thrive. 

These are the types of stories PPS is choosing to ignore when they push for inclusion without fully defining it for educators or families. We have yet to hear what that will look like or how we will staff and support it. When it was my turn to speak, I shared this concern and made it plain: It is surprising and inappropriate that PPS is already sending out a survey to parents with each IEP asking for their opinion on the concept of inclusion (check out the flyer here) without completing a bargain with us. 

As one parent who participated in the Southeast Guiding Coalition explained to PDXParents, “PPS’s decision to move on despite SEGC not reaching consensus was eye opening. ‘It basically told us what we had begun to suspect: On some level we were there so PPS could say that they had sought our input’”. Another stated, “In terms of the process, the district disregarded votes by the committee, dissenting voices among staff, and manipulated students and families to achieve their ends. I felt disenfranchised, disrespected, and like my time and my community’s time (had been) wasted.” PAT believes that there should not be decisions made about families without families, or about us without us. Please invite families at your N/NE Portland sites to our first of at least three Community Listening Sessions, at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, December 13th, where we will ask community members to share which of our bargaining priorities are priorities for them too. See the Flyer HERE

Solidarity Forever

"When the days are short and you haven't recovered from the exhaustion of late fall, look for the light." -Elena Aguilar, Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators

Bargaining is draining. Fighting for what we know our students and colleagues deserve can be heartbreaking. Educators at PPS and across the country are working more than ever to serve higher needs than ever. With so much on everyone’s plates, it can be hard to find the positive and express gratitude when you are overwhelmed, overworked, and under appreciated. One thing I’ve learned as an instructional coach is that we have to train our brains to “look for the light”. Meditation is hard for me to keep up, but I can build my practice of expressing gratitude. One free, small, doable step you can take is to notice the little things in your life. It can be really hard nowadays but we're in this together. That's one thing I'm grateful for.

Every day, at the end of the day, I would line my students up and say to them, "In case no one told you today, you're awesome and I love you." I realize now I was practicing gratitude daily every year I had my own classroom, and it has been missing in my life as I transitioned to a coaching role and now as PAT President.

So to all of you, the teachers and staff who let me do site visits, to those who speak up, who are doing their best to support others or to keep themselves afloat, who are protecting themselves by not reading any emails after work hours: In case no one told you today, you are awesome and I love you. Have a peaceful and safe break!

In Solidarity,

Angela Bonilla

PAT President


Family Conferences are one of the many tools we have to boost student success. It’s a chance for us to talk to families holistically about their child—including their curiosity, love of learning, and critical thinking skills.

These two days are long and exhausting, but they’re also filled with meaningful conversations, personal connections, and other opportunities to build community.

This year, conferences are scheduled right before Thanksgiving. Some families may not be able to attend due to travel. Our Superintendent made it clear that make-up conferences do not need to be scheduled when families can’t attend because of travel. Instead, they may want to schedule a video-conference, phone call, or email contact during the time period designated for conferences.

As educators, we try to be flexible, doing whatever it takes to meet with families, especially those whose work schedules or other obligations make it hard to meet during the designated conference time. Just remember, we don’t need to schedule make-up conferences because families are on vacation. You deserve to enjoy your holidays just as much as your students and their families.

Evening conferences shall last no longer than three (3) hours and conclude by 8:30pm. A duty-free lunch of at least thirty (30) continuous minutes and a dinner break of at least sixty (60) consecutive minutes shall be scheduled prior to evening conferences. (Article 6.7.2 and 7.7).

Bargaining Update

The PAT Bargaining Team had our third Bargaining Session with PPS on November 16th, 2022. Read our Bargaining Update HERE. Check out our initial proposal and presentation on how we envision student support, discipline, and safety could look in our schools.

We will also continue to livestream our bargaining sessions on our YouTube channel.

Stay tuned for updates ahead of the next bargaining session.

Run for a PAT Elected Position! (Eboard, OEA RA, & NEA RA)

Run for a PAT Elected Position! (Eboard, OEA RA, & NEA RA) 

PAT’s General Election is now open. The positions open for nominations include: 

Nominations CLOSE at 7:00pm on Wednesday, December 14, at the December Rep Assembly.

How to Nominate Yourself for a Position:

Learn more about the responsibilities of these positions here: Executive Board Director, Delegates to the OEA RA, Delegates to the NEA RA

PAT is a democratic organization, and our leaders are elected by you and all our members. Any PAT member in good standing may run for elected position. (But you can become a member HERE in order to run, and to vote, in the election.)

For more information, you can refer to the Nomination Letter to All Members and the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.

Committee Updates: Instruction & Professional Development (IPD) Committee

Every month the PAT Instruction and Professional Development (IPD) Committee chairs and PAT leadership bring issues and questions from teachers to PPS leadership in order to have collaborative discussions and address issues before they become bigger problems. 

Agenda items from October are below. More detailed information about each topic can be found here:

  • Instructional rounds and learning walks. We were assured that these are non-evaluative and not tied to any teacher. If you are experiencing pseudo-evaluative situations around this, let us know! 
  • Cadres including flexibility around working from home.
  • Another request for full TNTP and NTP reports that were used to inform the direction of the Office of Teaching and learning. 
  • Staffing for ESL
  • Peer Mentoring for Educators of Color
  • Math Whole Grade Acceleration
  • SPED Staffing
  • Report Card Check-in
  • New adoptions and academic freedom
  • Movement break mandates for K-5 classroom teachers

Committee Updates: Social Justice & Community Outreach Committee

Tired and stretched thin…who has time to add social justice to their day??

So many of us are really feeling worn down by the demands of new curriculum, the multi-faceted needs of students impacted by Covid, trauma, instability, insufficient staffing or funding, & so much more. Y’all know what we’re talking about & could add a lot more to that list!! So in the face of all of this pressure, how do we stay the course of upholding racial equity & social justice in our teaching practices & curriculum?

  • Read and understand your contractually protected academic freedom (Article 10). 
  • Bookmark PAT Monthly Resources. Many members lovingly labored over the years to curate these resources that align with racial equity & social justice goals. Spend some time perusing them so when a subpar text or lesson is presented in the curriculum, you know where to turn for an alternative!
  • We have each other. How can your load be lightened by sharing the workload? We know of a few educator teams who have been able to increase their focus on social justice standards and decrease their after-contract work hours because they have built deep trust within their team which enables them to share their workload effectively. 
  • Go Big or Go Home? Nope! Go small! Go try one thing! Starting small is reasonable & valid!
  • If social justice & racial equity feel like an add-on because it isn’t embedded in the curriculum, take a step to make it integral to your way of thinking about teaching & learning. If you aren’t sure how to do that, reach out to a trusted colleague or our committee for guidance.
  • Share what you are trying with SJCO by emailing [email protected] and [email protected]. We would love to share your efforts in the next Advocate! Let’s inspire each other!

What’s On Deck?

November: Native American and Indigenous Peoples History Month

December 3: International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Building the “We” in PAT

The Social Justice Committee and Community Outreach (SJCO) Committee is partnering with External Organizing to build up our community ties and engagement.

The more connected we are, the better we understand our mutual needs, which in turn helps us to more effectively support one another. Are you connected to a neighborhood association, political person/organization, a labor partner (union), community organization (faith-based, non-profit, mutual aid, etc) that might be willing to show their support for teachers? Please scan this code and share your connections! Thank you- YOU make our union stronger!

Committee Updates: Racial Equity & Social Justice Committees

PAT members, please take 1-2 min to fill in this short survey about participation and interest in this year’s Black Lives Matter Week Of Action.


Nedra Miller & Karen Liao, Racial Equity Co-Chairs

Julie Whitaker & David Scholten, SJCO Co-Chairs

Committee Updates: PAT PAC

Thank you to all the members who knocked doors, made calls, sent texts, gave money, or helped in any way to get the vote out this election cycle! As of this writing, it looks like most of the PAT PAC and OEA PAC-endorsed candidates and ballot measures were successful in their elections. 

We are celebrating, and taking a breather, but also gearing up for the next big job that’s ahead of us: Electing a school board that respects teachers this May, when 4 of the 7 seats on the PPS board are up. If you’re interested in helping make that happen, please join us at the next joint meeting of the Legislative Committee and PAC Board on January 18. RSVP here!

Upcoming Events

  • Community Listening Session: December 13th, 6:00pm-7:00pm, Tubman MS, RSVP here

  • Next PPS School Board meeting: December 13th, 6:00pm, MPEC

  • Next RA: December 14th, 4:30-6:30 PM, PAT Office

PAT Committees @ PAT Office

  • Advocacy Committee: January 4th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

  • Membership Committee: January 4th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

  • Internal Organizing: January 5th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

  • Legislative Committee: January 11th, 4:30-6:30 PM

  • PAT PAC: January 11th, 4:30-6:30 PM

  • IPD Committee: January 11th, 4:30-6:30 PM

  • External Organizing: January 12th, 4:30-6:30 PM 

OEA Events

1-1 Licensure Consultation - 15 minutes each, Multiple dates available, often every other Wednesday, 4:00 PM

Introduction to Restorative Practices Continuum - Webinar, Thursday, December 1st from 4:00-5:00 PM

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