This may be the most important election of our lives. In the last six months we have seen an unprecedented uprising demanding racial justice, and the unprecedented participation of YOUTH this election season. Both of these give me great hope.
As we approach November 3rd, we can envision our country making a decisive shift toward racial justice, climate justice, and a sustainable and humane economy.
At the same time, this pandemic reminds us how quickly we can lose the things we take for granted. Anxiety is high as we near election day, and there is a strong possibility we may have to wait for days or even weeks for ballots to be counted and for the election results to be confirmed.
As educators, we have a crucial role to play in helping our students make sense of current events, and to understand their role-- now and in the future-- in shaping our society. We don’t know what the morning of November 4th will look like, but we know our classrooms need to be a place for students to process their emotions, ask questions, and feel the support of their community.
Thank you for being a trusted adult for your students in this uncertain time.
I also urge you to take care of yourself, and to support your colleagues who are especially impacted during this time of compounding stress. As a union we have fought to have leave time available when we are unwell— it remains available to you during distance learning. Remember that your mental health is as important as your physical health.
As we approach election day, there are a few other things you can do towards ensuring a positive outcome. First and foremost, VOTE. Make sure your ballot is in the mail no later than October 27th; otherwise, drop it in an Official Ballot Drop site before 8:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3rd.
Next, join one of NEA’s National Get Out the Vote Friendbanks happening every evening between now and election day. Come to a Friendbank to multiply our power by encouraging your friends across the country to make a vote plan, VOTE, and talk with their people about the importance of voting this election.
No matter what happens on November 3rd, I know you will continue to show up and stand up for your students. And our union will continue to fight for you, and to make sure all our students have the schools they deserve.
Working from home doesn’t mean you should have to work while you are sick.
Educators need to take care of themselves, and nothing has changed about your access to contractual leave in Comprehensive Distance Learning. You still have access to sick leave, personal leave, and family leave. Remember that you cannot offer the best of yourself to students if you are not able to “be your best” due to illness or other pressing needs.
Whether or not your position allows you to get a substitute, you have the right to contractual leaves.
If you are a classroom educator, please utilize substitute educators when you need to take a leave. While you are taking care of your personal needs, utilizing substitute educators provides much needed work for our PAT substitute colleagues.
Substitute educators are trained to use Google, Canvas, Seesaw, and other platforms and are ready to work with your students. They can provide full-class instruction, small group instruction, attend your office hours, and provide support to students for asynchronous learning activities.
While we know it is not a perfect process (and PAT is working to have the District improve it), a classroom educator needs to follow these three steps to obtain a substitute educator:
- Put the absence into Absence Management and notify their school.
- Connect directly with the substitute educator so that the job can be assigned to them and so you can provide access to the Google classroom.
- If possible, put substitute lesson plans into Absence Management. (It is recommended that the educator also share these plans with the Principal’s Secretary or Building Administrator.)
Please take care of yourself, and utilize your colleagues who are substitute educators!
Professional educators in each building now have a voice in what happens in the many PLC meetings that PPS is requiring this year.
In bargaining working conditions under CDL, your bargaining team was able to get PPS to agree that all PLCs will have half of the agenda for PLCs developed with input from the building administrators and the building’s instructional leadership team (ILT). The other half of the agendas will be determined through mutual agreement with the administration and the professional educators in each PLC meeting.
Although we didn’t agree how half would be determined, it was expressed by both the District and your bargaining team that common sense will be the test of “half.” PLC meetings can be split evenly between admin/ILT developed tasks, and admin/educator developed tasks. Or, one meeting can be all admin/ILT developed, and the next PLC be developed by the educators attending the meeting and admin.
If your PLC agendas are still being dictated by your building administrator, refer to the signed agreement and ensure that there is professional-educator voice shaping the work in the meetings.
PAT and PPS have been working to modify the PAT educator evaluation tool. This tool needs to meet ODE requirements and have reasonable expectations for educators considering this extremely difficult time we are working in. Since we are all in the learning phase of teaching in this environment, PAT and PPS share common beliefs and expectations regarding our mutually agreed upon evaluation tool.
- Our common expectation is that this evaluation is a tool to support teaching and learning.
- It’s an opportunity to have conversations with your administrator about strengthening your practice, given these challenging times.
- All ratings from your administrator must be based on evidence. If your administrator does not have evidence for a particular element, there will be no rating.
- Every rating you receive should be understandable, with no surprises.
- Again, this evaluation tool is designed to support you, there is no “gotcha."
The majority of educators can expect an “in process” for many of the evaluation elements, due to the specific challenges we’re facing this year. However, this tool also includes greater specificity than in previous years, so educators can more clearly understand what administrators are looking for in the classroom.
The evaluation tool and process will be shared with you by the end of the week.
You will be required to have 2 student learning goals and 1 professional goal. Different from years past, you may focus SLG goals on: 1) social and emotional learning for students, 2) student engagement, and/or 3) family engagement. Academic goals may be considered with mutual agreement. Professional goals are your personal goals that you decide you would like to work on.
Parent teacher conferences are fast approaching-- this year they are scheduled for Monday, November 23rd and Tuesday, November 24th. Both days there is no school for students.
Article 6.7.2 of your union contract states that, “the District shall schedule two (2) parent conferences in the evening on two consecutive evenings.” Please keep in mind that evening conferences shall last no longer than three (3) hours and shall conclude by 8:30 p.m. November 25th is a no-work day, to compensate for the two evenings. Please make sure your conference schedule complies with our contract, including your dinner break and the end time.
Individual educators may flex their schedule for parent teacher conferences. For example, if an educator needs to attend to family needs for portions of the scheduled conference times, they may contact some families to schedule an alternative time for their conferences. However, if your entire building is planning to hold parent conferences outside of the two dedicated days and evenings, then the educators will need to submit a Contract Exception to the PAT.
Contract exception applications related to fall conferences will be accepted up until November 3rd, 2020. All applications submitted by that date will be reviewed by the Advocacy Committee that week.
For all other contract exception applications not related to fall conferences, those applications will be due by December 19th, 2020.
As in past years, we are starting our Sick Leave Bank donation (CBA Article 184.108.40.206.F). When you choose to donate your accrued sick time to the bank, you are doing a great service to a colleague in dire need. Your donated hours allow members on approved medical leave to care for themselves and keep their health benefits after they have exhausted their own accrued sick leave time.
Every year, we ask members to donate hours so that this program can continue. This year, it is easier than ever to donate hours: you can donate hours by filling out the online PAT/PPS Sick Leave Bank Donation Form! You will need to log in with your PPS email account and include your PPS employee ID number on the form.
Thank you for being part of this crucial program that allows us to support our colleagues through our union.
Know Your Contract: Submit Your Transcripts by October 31st to Retroactively Advance of the Salary Schedule
If you have earned educational credits over the summer, or if you are a new hire and have yet to submit your educational background, you must submit the official documentation to HR no later than October 31st if you want the credits to count retroactively from the start of the year.
The PAT-PPS Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) states in Article 12:
“220.127.116.11 In order to receive a salary adjustment retroactive to the beginning of the current school year, a professional educator must, by October 31st, provide the Human Resources Department with proof of completion of coursework. Adjustments based upon proof received after October 31st will be made effective the first day of the next pay period.”
If you submit the credits to HR after October 31st, they will move you on the salary schedule, but the credits will not be calculated for any retroactive payments going back to the start of the school year.
KNOW YOUR CONTRACT: Early Retirement: Benefits and Important Dates
During our last big contract negotiations, PAT protected what is called the “PERS Bubble” (officially called “Re-employment of Retirees”) and the Early Retirement Incentive. Both of those provisions are explained in detail in Article 15 of the PAT/PPS contract.
These benefits assure that educators are able to retire with dignity when they feel it’s time. They are benefits that all PAT members should receive, and they are benefits that we have all fought to maintain.
November is National Native American/Indigenous Peoples’ Heritage Month. The PAT Racial Equity Committee is continuing our book reading recordings to grow the collection of asynchronous material to use in our classrooms. If you are interested in participating in our storytelling project as a volunteer reader, please fill out this form.
If you are looking for some inspiration to prepare for your book reading, watch our series of PAT Educators reading children's books celebrating Latinx/Hispanic Culture.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for events, curriculum, and resources to help you celebrate Native American/ Indigenous Peoples’ Month with your students.