President's Message: The Year Ahead

Over the last 9 days, we have lived through yet another real-time crisis. As fires have raged across our state and most of the Western United States, the anxiety has been as thick as the smoke.  

Many of you have had to evacuate or prepare to evacuate your homes. Others have helped friends and loved-ones move to safer ground, or have taken refugees from evacuation zones into your homes. 

As always, I am blown away by the dedication and compassion of educators in our District. In the face of staggering current events, I see educators creating spaces for students to process, inquire, and lead, while prioritizing safe and supportive communities in a time of isolation. 

And once again, I see educators shouldering the burden of a school system that is not resourced or fully prepared for the challenges we face. Despite the lack of resources and harrowing circumstances, you continue to provide students with the best experience possible.  This has always been the case, but 2020 has a way of amplifying the persistent inequities that are our duty to correct.

This is why we fight for educators to have the time and the resources we need to do our jobs. 

In our recent Memorandum of Agreement with PPS:

  •       We fought for and won the right for every educator to have an average of at least 3 hours and 10 minutes (on average) each work day as educator-directed time—to create meaningful lessons, to reach out to students and families, to give students individual feedback on their work.
  •       We are still fighting for Dual Language Immersion educators to have the materials and supports for students in the language of instruction.
  •       We are still fighting for Special Educators to be given time to meet their students’ needs, or be compensated when required to work outside of the contract day to complete required meetings and paperwork.
  •       We are still fighting for our students and families to get the support that they need to be able to equitably access education in a Distance-Learning model.

As bargaining team member Emy Markewitz said, we aren’t asking for an extra cookie—we are asking for WHAT WE NEED. 

As a union, we will not stop asking for what we need to serve our students and create the schools that they deserve. 

Thank you for all you’re doing to improve the lives of our students, and please stay safe.

In Solidarity,


Elizabeth Thiel

PAT President

PAT and PPS Making Progress on an MOA for 2020/2021 School Year

Since July, PAT and PPS have been in negotiations regarding a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the 2020/2021 school year.  The PAT has proposed sections on what constitutes a safe return to work, working conditions (including educator-directed time), and support for families of the students we serve, among other topics.  Last week we agreed on key terms for the workday that should help each professional educator as we move past the “soft” open on September 14th. 

The work schedule for all educators contains the following provisions:

  •     The schedule must meet statutory requirements for instruction time, and for educator-facilitated instructional time in compliance with the ODE’s guidance set forth in Ready Schools, Safe Learners of August, 2020.
  •     All professional educators will receive an average of no less than three hours and ten minutes per day, or at least 950 minutes per week, of educator-directed time over the course of a full school week, that shall include the following:
  •     Educator-directed planning time;
  •     Educator-directed time to communicate with students and families;
  •     Educator-directed time to provide actionable feedback to students;
  •     Educator-directed time to assess student performance, and gather, track, and enter data.

“Educator-directed time” is flexible time - - educators are required to do the activities, but educators may conduct them when they are able.  This means that if an individual educator needs to take time to care for their child/children or to provide elder care, they may flex the time.  We also agreed that times in the day where the District has indicated options such as student “support/ office hours,” or “small group instruction/ asynchronous learning/ office hours,” etc. are times where the educator (not the administrator) decides what happens when. 

Finally, both sides agreed that office hours don’t count as part of the educator-directed time or educator planning time

Advocacy Cadre

Got a question about the PAT contract? The new PAT Advocacy Cadre can help! 

We are in our second week of operating the PAT Advocacy Cadre, a group of 10 member-educators who will work closely with the UniServ Consultants to become experts on our contracts, and to support members who need help navigating the language of our union contracts. 

PAT Advocacy Cadre Hotline Hours: Mondays, 5-6:30 p.m. 

Prior to contacting the Cadre Hotline, members should first speak with their building representative. You can send an e-mail or voicemail to the cadre at any time, but they will only be responding during Monday hotline hours. 

Through this program, we hope to continuously expand our contract advocacy and contract education work so that all members feel empowered to enforce their contractual rights in their buildings.  

Meet our 2020-2021 Advocacy Cadre on our website.

Upcoming Dates in Our Contract

The PAT Advocacy Committee would like to highlight several important dates that are quickly approaching.  These contractual dates are still in effect even though we are working in a Comprehensive Distance Learning model.  Due to our remote working arrangements, it is imperative to track these dates if you are a new hire or if you are considering applying for a leave of absence in the spring.

  • October 31-   Proof of Coursework-  Art. 9.B.1.c- “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.”
  • 60 days from start of employment-   Proof of Experience Credit-  Art. 9.B.2.g-  “Such salary adjustments [based on previous experience] will not be retroactive, except that experience verified within sixty (60) days of the start of employment shall be retroactive to the first day of employment.”
  • 2nd Monday in October-   Study Leave – Spring Semester-   14.D.6.b(4)-  “Such applications for study leave for spring semester must be filed by the second Monday in October preceding the spring semester.”

You find our complete contract on our website.

Work Share Update

While the majority of Work Share payments have been issued to PPS employees, there are still a handful of one-off cases where employees have not received at least 2 payments, or in some cases, where educators have not received any payments.  If you fall into this category, please complete our brief survey so we can submit your contact information to PPS Human Resources.  

Please note that the majority, if not all, PPS employees who were furloughed on the Work Share program still have not received the first payment (also referred to as “the waiting period payment”).  If you are missing only one payment, please do not complete this form.  PPS is aware that the Oregon Department of Unemployment still has not issued the first week of payments due to the computer glitch that does not allow the state to override the one week waiting period payment. As of today, the State still has not processed the one week “waiting period” checks, but we will continue to work with PPS Human Resources on this issue. 

Nominations & Elections: Run for Interim E-Board Director Seat

Interim Executive Board Position

The PAT Nominations & Elections (N&E) Committee announces that there will be an interim election for one PAT Executive Board Director on Wednesday, October 14, 2020 (term ending on June 30, 2021).

Nominations for this position will open at the September RA on September 16, 2020, and will close at 5:00 PM on Monday, October 5, 2020. To nominate yourself for this position, please use this nomination form.  Nomination forms must be submitted electronically to Jennifer Dixon ([email protected]) by 5:00 p.m. on October 5, 2020.  Any PAT member in good standing may run for this position.  Non-members are not eligible to run for an elected union office. Learn more about Executive Board Director responsibilities.

In accordance with our bylaws, the Representative Assembly will elect the interim director. Voting will occur at the October 14 Virtual RA. There will be no nominations from the floor due to our online format. 

Prior to the RA, candidates for this position will pre-record their three-minute speech with the N&E Committee on Zoom on one of two dates (Thursday, October 8th or Monday, October 12th). Candidates will be contacted by the N&E Committee to arrange this. Each candidate will have one opportunity to record their speech. There will not be multiple attempts, unless there is a technical issue. 

Speeches will be presented at the October RA. The Voters’ Pamphlet and Ballots will be sent electronically to building representatives in attendance at the October 14th PAT RA.

For more information, you can refer to the PAT Nominations and Elections Handbook.    

PAT Endorses Ballot Measures on the November Ballot

In this time of crisis and uncertainty, it is crucial that we invest in supportive services for our community and in sustainable, living wage jobs to fuel our economic recovery; and that we create policies that live up to our values and ideals. PAT is proud to endorse the following ballot measures on the November ballot which all play a part in building a more just, sustainable, and supportive city.

  •     Preschool for All Measure 26-214 has merged with the Universal Preschool for All campaign. The combined package will tax high earners in order to provide preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds in Multnomah County. The plan will also guarantee a living wage for all preschool teachers and assistants, and gives them the right to unionize.
  •     Multnomah County Library Bond Measure 26-211 will expand and modernize the library branches in the neighborhoods that need them most, and build a new flagship library in East County. 
  •     Portland Schools Bond: Measure 26-215 will invest in our schools with funds to modernize Jefferson High School, create the new Center for Black Student Excellence, update curriculum resources, and make needed safety and accessibility improvements.
  •     Let’s Get Moving: Metro Bond Measure 26-218 will improve 17 of our most dangerous and congested roadways, greatly improve public transit options, address climate and equity priorities, and provide free youth passes for everyone under 18.
  •     Portland Parks Levy Measure 26-213 will maintain our parks and natural areas and restore vital recreation services and community center offerings, while maintaining jobs.
  •     The Real Police Accountability Measure 26-217 will give our community a voice in police use-of-force incidents, ensuring that police live up to our community values. 

Register to Vote by October 13th

Are You Registered to Vote?

The deadline to register to vote in Oregon in the upcoming election is October 13, 2020. You’ll also need to update your registration if you’ve moved since you last registered. Registering is easy and can be done online.

Since it is so important that everyone participates in voting, please make sure to mention the October 13 voting registration deadline to your students, and encourage them to remind their parents.

Need to register to vote?- Register here: 

Not sure if you’re registered correctly? Check here: 

Need to update your registration? Enter your info here, then click “Update Registration”: 

Voting is a vital part of our democracy, and your power is in your vote- but you can’t vote if you’re not registered!

Get Counted: 2020 Census

The final deadline for the 2020 United States Census is September 30th. You can still participate and ensure you are counted. Please visit to complete the questionnaire and be counted.

Participation in the Census is safe, important, and necessary. The Census affects $800 billion in public education funding, and we want to make sure our community is counted and will receive its fair share of federal and state funding for schools and other critical services.

Please educate your students about the Census, and encourage them to talk to their families about the importance of getting counted. For resources and ideas, visit

Join a PAT Committee

Part of what makes PAT such a strong and powerful union is the strength of our committees.  PAT committees give members a way to get involved with issues that matter to them.  Many of our committees are open to all members.

Learn more about our committees  and let us know you want to get involved.  Your voice will make a difference.