WELCOME BACK, EDUCATORS!
Wow, what a start to the school year! We are dealing with wildfire smoke and hot classrooms, multiple curricular adoptions, new admin, new staff, less staff, “post”-pandemic student needs, national politics, racial injustice, COVID and "all the traumas, problems, and issues we had before the list above!"
Thank you for coming back. You could have chosen to teach anywhere else but you came back to our Portland students and community, and we appreciate you.
UNIONS ON THE RISE
I don’t know about y’all, but everywhere I turn I see more and more workers coming together to build unions and fight for dignity in the workplace! We have seen the federal government scramble to do something about the railroad workers possibly striking. Mental Health Nurses under Kaiser in California have been on strike for a month over staffing ratios. Seattle Teachers just ended a strike over class sizes, Special Ed caseloads, interpretation and translation services for students. Columbus EA just settled a contract in August over pay and working conditions in buildings. Unions are not only for the trades: Starbucks, Amazon, New Seasons… Our service workers know that they deserve safe and sustainable working conditions.
With this rise in unionization across the nation, we are also seeing a renewed fight on the side of the employer. Starbucks, Amazon and New Seasons have all fired several union organizers across the country. Starbucks, for example, has given extra benefits to non-unionized stores as if that “benevolent gift” will be enough to convince workers they don’t need a union… Even though they only gave these benefits due to the THREAT of a union. As Fredrick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
We will get more educators into our profession by making sure we have livable wages, sustainable caseloads, safe working conditions, support for all students regardless of need, and to be treated like the trained professionals we are. The only way to make that happen is when we UNITE, when we ORGANIZE. The future of Public Education depends on it.
WHY SHOULD I READ THE ADVOCATE?
The Advocate is Portland Association of Teachers’ Bi-Monthly newsletter, keeping you up to date on what your union is doing for you, for our students, our community, and the greater good.
In the next few months, PAT will be:
- Building Union Engagement, Solidarity & Accessibility through stronger internal structures and centering Racial Equity
- Developing Community and Parent Solidarity around Community Schools through increased communication, internal & external organizing, and social media
- Creating Great Public Schools for All through our Contract Negotiations and the maintenance of our current contract
Please keep yourselves informed and up to date by checking out The Advocate, pdxteachers.org, @pdxteachers & @AbonillaPAT on Twitter, @patpres & @pdxteachers on Instagram and our public Facebook page, Portland Association of Teachers. (If you are interested in supporting our PAT communications team, please email us! We can’t compete with PPS’ ~$80k, but we have bubbly water!)
President, Portland Association of Teachers
Article 7 (Workday) of the PAT/PPS contract includes language to ensure a fair work schedule that allows you to support your students. Using the Schedule Check worksheet below, review the contract and your schedule. Select the worksheet appropriate for your assignment (grade level/building and full-time or part-time). You should also receive a copy of the worksheet from your PAT Building Rep.
- Elementary Full-Time
- Elementary Part-Time
- K-8 Full-Time
- K-8 Part-Time
- Middle School Full-Time
- Middle School Part-Time
- High School Full-Time
- High School Part-Time
An important part of our union’s ongoing work is making sure the terms of the contract are honored. All educators are responsible for checking their schedule to confirm it provides the contract hours, planning time, duty and lunch periods which the contract requires.
If your schedule needs adjustment, raise the issue now. If you have concerns about your schedule, talk to your administrator. Your PAT Building Representative is available to help.
Did you take coursework for salary credit this summer?
If you completed coursework necessary to advance to another level on the salary schedule, proof of completion must be submitted to Human Resources (HR) by October 31st for salary adjustment retroactive to the beginning of the current school year. (Article 12.3.3).
If you miss this deadline, the salary adjustment will be effective the first day of the next pay period after verification is received by PPS HR. Contact Human Resources to confirm what verification is required and confirm verification of your coursework has been received by the HR Department.
Newly hired professional educators (including temporary educators) shall be placed on the PPS salary schedule based on their prior work experience and education/training level as provided in Article 12.2 of the PAT/PPS contract.
Proof of completion of coursework or degrees attained must be provided to the PPS Human Resources (HR) Department by October 31st to receive the salary adjustment retroactive to the beginning of the year. If proof is received after October 31st, the adjustment will be effective the first day of the next pay period after receipt by PPS HR.
Previous work experience in a PK-12 setting with responsibility like that of PPS educators may also be credited in placement on the PPS salary schedule. Review contract Article 12.2.2 to see if your prior experience is eligible for credit. Official verification must be submitted to the PPS Human Resources Department. Experience verified within sixty (60) days of the start of employment will be retroactive to the first day of employment.
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 costs 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)
Did you know that PAT's goals are met by the work done through our committees? Much of the union’s work is accomplished by PAT members serving on committees, benefiting all our colleagues and every Portland student. We would love to have you join us on a committee that interests you!
Committees meet at PAT (345 NE 8th) from 4:30 – 6:30 PM and we provide dinner. Upcoming dates are listed below. If you are interested in joining a committee, please RSVP here
- Social Justice and Community Outreach Committee (SJCO) members strengthen ties with other labor and community organizations and conduct open forums on topics like Special Education, Immigration Rights and Climate Justice. Next Meeting: Thu. Nov. 3rd
- The Racial Equity Committee is composed of educators of color whose goal is to build organizational capacity within PAT to honor, acknowledge, and center the lived experiences and stories of educators, along with students of color, within our union and inside PPS. This is an Affinity space for Educators of Color. Next Meeting: Wed. Nov. 9th
- The Substitute Teacher Committee discusses best practice for substitute teachers and supports the bargaining team. Their work, along with our collective efforts, helped PAT win the strongest Substitute Teacher contract in Oregon. Next Meeting: Oct. TBD, Nov. 2nd
- The Membership Committee offers workshops to help PAT members with issues such as student loan forgiveness, retirement planning, and interview skills for the transfer process. It also plans member activities such as the annual PAT “Party in the Park” and Retiree Reception. First Meeting: Wed. Oct. 5th.
- The Instructional and Professional Development (IPD) Committee meets with PPS leadership monthly to advocate for better district-wide programs for all PAT members. They meet monthly with the district to plan and problem solve PPS initiatives that impact instruction and PD. Next Meeting: Wed. Oct. 12th
- The Legislative Committee works to support local legislation, elected leaders, and candidates for elected office who share our values, so that educators can influence our government to recognize the needs of our students and our profession. Next Meeting: Wed. Oct. 12th
- The Bargaining Committee supports the Bargaining Team, including helping to develop, research, and vet bargaining proposals. It consists of members who work in a variety of job roles, with various lived experiences. This group is by invite only to ensure that we do not over represent any one work type. If interested, fill out this form. Next meeting: Wed. Nov. 9th
- The Advocacy Committee reviews contract exceptions, and ensures that our current contract language is being followed. They meet with the district monthly to discuss widespread issues around the contract. This group is by invite only. We are looking for members who are strong advocates of our current contract language and who enjoy reading and interpreting contract language. Next meeting: Wed. Oct. 5th
If you are interested in learning more, email PAT Vice President, Jacque Dixon at [email protected]
*For those interested in closed committees, PAT Leadership and/or chairs will reach out to you to discuss if it is a right fit.
If you are interested in learning more, email PAT Vice President, Jacque Dixon at [email protected]
SEPTEMBER 15th-OCTOBER 19th.
PAT Latinx Heritage Month resource materials are beginning to be renamed Latine Heritage Month. “Latine (pronounced la·ˈti·ne) is a gender-neutral form of the word Latino, created by LGBTQIA+, gender non-binary, and feminist communities in Spanish speaking countries. The objective of the term Latine is to remove gender from the Spanish word Latino, by replacing it with the gender-neutral Spanish letter E. This idea is native to the Spanish language and can be seen in many gender-neutral words like “estudiante”. – callmelatine.com
There are many ways for people to name their racial, cultural, and ethnic identities. We also know that language evolves and as invested members of mutually sustaining communities, we need to listen to members of our community and recognize there will alway be multiple points of view. Here are some more resources if you are interested in additional thoughts about the terms Latine and Latinx, but more importantly, we encourage you to listen to those within your own community and follow their lead.
Heritage/Affinity Month Release Planning Day
Do you identify as Hispanic, Latine, Latino, Indigenous, Native American, or Filipino? Do you have a personal connection with folx with disabilities? On Friday, October 7th we will refine, revisit, and reimagine our current PAT resources for Latine Heritage Month and Indigenous/Native American Heritage Month. We will also begin to put together resources for Filipino Heritage Month and International Day of Persons with Disabilities. People who do not share an identity with these groups but have the desire to support and augment the work are also needed and invited. Indicate your interest HERE (space is limited, but we will contact everyone who signs up) and be entered to win a gift card to Third Eye Books! PAT will pay your substitute leave and will provide lunch at the PAT office.
JOIN THE PAT FLYING SQUAD!
Click the link to learn about the PAT Flying Squad and what it has to do with union solidarity! See below for an example of union solidarity
UNION SOLIDARITY ACTION REGARDING COVID LEAVE
Let's build momentum and solidarity as we enter into bargaining for a fair contract!
Who: All community members who love teachers are invited to come by for a community drive thru event at the Portland Association of Teachers office!
Where: 345 NE 8th Ave, PDX, 97232
When: Saturday, October 15th from 12pm-2pm
- Music + dancing 🎉
- Free yard signs
- Temporary tattoos
- Spin the wheel
- for more SWAG!!
Link to FB event here. Thanks for sharing!
Celebrate the Renaming of BESC after Dr. Matthew Prophet
WHAT: The PPS School Board voted Unanimously on Tuesday September 20th to rename the BESC Building after Dr. Matthew Prophet, who served as Portland Public Schools Superintendent from 1982-1992. Please join us at his virtual tribute on Saturday October 22nd!
For more information, contact: Lurlene Shamsud-Din: 971.354.0970 or Renee Anderson: 971. 207.1242