As you all know, Jacque and I receive a lot of emails from educators reaching out for help. We noticed an increase in Special Educators reaching out for help, and recently learned that last year there was a 30% turnover in the Special Ed department.
A Harm to One is a Harm to All
We met with a small SpEd steering group on a Monday. By the end of the week we had a hybrid listening session that allowed members to share their experiences, identify trends, and identify possible actions. We finalized the plan with the original SpEd steering group and tried to order buttons, stickers, and other materials in time for the RA. We wanted the actions to coincide with our next bargaining session on November 1st so the SpEd focus and the bargaining focus coincided, uplifting both. Behind the scenes, we were connecting with media outlets, writing up grievances, and creating social media posts to get the word out. This was quite the endeavor to get done in about 2-3 weeks!
Thank you to all of our Executive Board members, our Reps, our organizers, and every special educator who came out to our Listening Sessions and thank you to every educator, community member, and ally that participated in our week of action! Special shout out to the folks who came out on a Sunday to pick up buttons for their schools and those who cranked out hundreds of buttons to make sure we had enough for every special educator. We had close to 60% of our sites pick up buttons and stickers on Sunday. When possible, we will make sure those materials go out in RA packets in the future. Thank you for being flexible with the quick turnaround!
The Special Education Week of Action inspired the Eugene EA to do a similar action, as well as inquiries from folks over in St. Paul, MN over our process and materials. Although not everything came out perfectly, our actions showed PPS and our Special Educators that a harm to one is a harm to all! So far, all news coverage (here, here, and here) on our rally has been positive and encouraged folks to check out bargaining.
I am so proud to be your PAT President and we will continue to reach out and listen to our educators’ concerns. We recently met with our TOSAs around their workload increase and have a date scheduled to meet with our Pre-K/Head Start educators. Remember: We can only act on what we know is happening. Speak up, listen to each other, and support each other! The only way forward is together!
The PAT/PPS contract provides funds for professional development as well as tuition reimbursement (Article 22). The Professional Improvement Fund allows educators to spend $1500 over three years for transportation, meals, lodging, and registration costs to attend a conference, provided it has a legitimate pedagogical purpose.
In our last contract negotiations, we ensured that these funds are also available to temporary teachers whose positions are expected to exist for more than 135 days.
You will need to follow these guidelines to access the Professional Improvement Fund. The District will also reimburse professional educators for tuition cost up to six (6) non-cumulative hours in a 12-month period for which graduate credit is granted by a college or university. See the PAT/PPS contract for details and the PPS website for how to access your tuition reimbursement.
Your building may already be creating a schedule for Parent/Teacher Conferences in the fall. Evening conferences shall last no longer than three (3) hours and conclude by 8:30pm. A duty-free dinner break of at least sixty (60) consecutive minutes shall be scheduled prior to evening conferences. (Article 6.7.2).
The PAT Bargaining Team had our second Bargaining Session with PPS on November 1st, 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 have OPEN BARGAINING! That means educators can come and observe in the room (or the overflow rooms) with us to show support. As observers, you cannot participate in discussions and must abide by our Bargaining Ground rules, specifically:
“Observers may be present for in person bargaining sessions. A maximum of 25 observers from each of the parties may attend in person bargaining sessions, with the understanding that some observers may need to be in a different room to observe bargaining through the livestream. Observers must follow District’s policies while observing and must not be audible to the bargaining teams during the sessions. In addition, bargaining sessions may be recorded and simulcast on a mutually agreed upon virtual platform and will be open to observation to the public, space permitting.”
We will also continue to livestream our bargaining sessions on our YouTube channel. Our next session will be on November 16, at PAT Offices from 2pm-4pm.
Did you know that under our contract, you do NOT have to use your leave accruals to miss a staff meeting? If you have an appointment or your own child’s IEP meeting, you do NOT have to put in if you must miss the meeting or leave early. Please let your admin know, “I will have to miss/leave the staff meeting early for an appointment. Please send me a copy of any materials I may miss”.
Be warned: A pattern of missing staff meetings can lead to discipline. Please make sure you are only missing Staff Meetings when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Don’t forget, PAT ALSO shares things for the whole staff during staff meeting time every month!
Nominations are now open for two interim elected positions: PAT Executive Board Director and PAT Secretary! Nominations will close at 5:00 PM on November 16th (at the November RA).
The Interim Executive Board position will begin this November (and go through June 30, 2024), but the Interim Secretary position will not begin until July 1 (and will go through June 30, 2024).
Are you interested in taking a leadership role within your union and having an impact on its direction? If so, please consider running!
To nominate yourself for either of these positions, use this nomination form. Nomination forms must be emailed to Jennifer Dixon ([email protected]). Candidates who submit their forms by 5:00 pm on November 2, 2022, will have their statements distributed at the November RA. However, nominations can also be made from the floor at the November RA (by 5pm on November 16).
Any PAT member in good standing may run for this position. Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. (But you can become a member HERE in order to run.) Learn more about Executive Board Director responsibilities and Secretary responsibilities.
In accordance with our bylaws, the Representative Assembly will elect the interim positions. Voting will occur at the November 16th RA. Only elected reps, who are present during the time of voting, will be permitted to vote. Candidate speeches will be given at the November RA.
The PAT Nominations & Elections Committee announces that nominations for PAT’s General Election will open on November 16, 2022, at the November PAT Representative Assembly.
The positions open for nominations include:
- PAT Executive Board Directors (4 positions)
- PAT Delegates to the OEA RA (approx. 30 positions)
- PAT Delegates to the NEA RA (approx. 28 positions)
Any PAT member in good standing may run for any of these positions. Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. (But you can become a member HERE in order to run.) Detailed information about the terms and duties of the positions and the Nomination Form may be found on our website.
Nominations close at the December Representative Assembly, at 7:00pm on Wednesday, December 14.
The Voters’ Pamphlet and Ballots will be sent electronically to members on February 9, 2023. Votes must be cast by 5:00 PM on Thursday, February 23, 2023.
Ballots are here and it’s time to vote!
Here’s the complete list of PAT PAC and OEA PAC endorsements for the current election. Please keep it handy as you fill out your ballot, and please share it with friends, family, and neighbors to make sure we elect a full slate of education-friendly candidates.
Local Offices & Ballot Measures:
Portland City Council Position 3: Jo Ann Hardesty
Multnomah County Chair: Jessica Vega Pederson
Measure 26-228 (Portland Charter Reform): YES
HD 28: Dacia Grayber
HD 33: Maxine Dexter
HD 43: Tawna Sanchez
HD 44: Travis Nelson
HD 45: Thuy Tran
HD 46: Khanh Pham
SD 17: Elizabeth Steiner Hayward
Statewide Offices (from OEA PAC)
Oregon Governor: Tina Kotek
Oregon Labor Commissioner: Christina Stephenson
Measure 111 (right to healthcare): YES
Measure 112 (abolish slavery as punishment for a crime): YES
Measure 113 (end legislative walkouts): YES
Measure 114 (common sense gun reform): YES
Federal Offices (from OEA PAC)
US Senate: Ron Wyden
US House of Representatives, OR CD 1: Suzanne Bonamici
US House of Representatives, OR CD 3: Earl Blumenauer
US House of Representatives, OR CD 5: Jamie McLeod-Skinner
US House of Representatives, OR CD 6: Andrea Salinas
If you’re able, you can support these candidat
es further by signing up with a campaign to knock on doors, send texts, or make phone calls. Thank you to all of our members who volunteered the past two weekends canvassing!
Campaign volunteer sign-up sites:
How are YOU weaving social justice and anti-racism into your work?
Email [email protected] a photo and/or a short blurb describing a meaningful lesson, conversation, or practice that illuminated or cultured an opportunity to deepen anti-racist and social justice work in our PAT community. We would love to share your experience in a future edition of The Advocate to inspire others to center race and justice in all that we do.
Want to know what PAT is up to? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @PDXteachers! Check out our President’s Twitter @ABonillaPAT
Thank you to all members who participated in the SpEd Week of Action by showing up to the Board Meeting & Bargaining, writing letters to SpEd Admin, wearing supportive buttons and stickers, and “Marching on the Boss” to deliver our SpEd Group Grievance to demand safe staffing and supports. We see you and appreciate your solidarity.