March 20, 2020
In this Issue… Covid-19 Agreements & Negotiations, Free PD, WEA Election--Ends Sunday, Help Needed.
Dear HEA Members,
Many of you have contacted me over the last two weeks and I will be able to get back to each of you by the end of the weekend. Returning to work Thursday may have brought a glimmer of normalcy as you put on a clean shirt or styled your hair for your first zoom meeting. Monday will bring more structure but also more stress as we balance family and work in a home that might not have the luxury of a home office but may include a toddler! Please make sure to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and consider what good mental health means to you. I was struck by this article shared by the PBS News Hour, which you may find of interest as well.
Since the need for work in new ways has become a reality, district administrators have worked with us in thoughtful and reasonable ways. Steve Grubb’s memo (modified to reflect HEA expectations only) sent last Tuesday outlines the agreements we have reached on what working remotely can include. OSPI will be providing the district with more guidance on Monday. Once that happens, we expect Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (TLL) will develop clearer directions as well as a menu of options for what individuals and teams may work on.
Shared Agreements: In the meantime, HEA and HSD have held productive discussions leading to the following understandings:
1) A common understanding on continued compensation and benefits for certificated instructional staff with the exception of many of our substitute teachers. A few details remain to be discussed.
2) A shared agreement on the delivery of services to students to reinforce learning and support opportunities for credit retrieval for seniors, as needed.
3) A shared agreement that most of our remote work will reflect the type of work we typically do, including supporting students to retain learning, individual planning, collaboration with natural teams, self-directed professional development and choice activities from a menu of options.
4) A shared understanding of employee status and leaves of absence that recognizes options may shift as state and national aid becomes more available for those who become ill or must take care of loved ones.
5) An agreement to continue holding regular, ongoing problem-solving discussions.
Beyond a weekly staff meeting, principals should not be directing your work expectations, given that our agreement clearly states, directions will come from TLL. Administrators should zoom with their building reps and review the memo as part of their labor management meeting this month. If a shared understanding cannot be reached, the team should reach out both to me and to their ILED for clarification.
Continued Negotiations: Our next discussion with HR is Tuesday for problem-solving on the following:
1) We continue to discuss ways to provide support to our daily and long-term substitutes in terms of continued benefits and/or compensation. We recognize that, through no fault of the district, our guest teachers lost their jobs with zero days’ notice. These are loyal and valued colleagues, and many are HEA members. They are hurting. We will reach out to fellow members should solidarity actions be needed. A special Substitute Teacher Edition of the EFocus will go out next week.
2) We will discuss changes to the performance evaluation system. We have committed to making that happen once OSPI has shared more guidance.
3) Check out the HSD website for regular updates on the outbreak and resources for families.
Please remember, shared agreements are designed to reduce your stress levels and increase your engagement in the work at hand and not the other way around!
To your continued good health and that of your family, friends, & colleagues,
FREE WEA PD. Register for online and zoom courses, as time permits, and collect a few clock hours for salary advancement and certificate renewal. Remember, if any WEA or local NEA-sponsored classes ever do require a fee, sign up and pay. Then after you have completed the course, send (mail/scan/photo upload) your receipt to Portia Robinson for reimbursement. We are also accepting HEA member PD grant applications. Thank you for your patience as we process these.
VOTE NOW: We recently held elections for WEA UniServ Council Directors and for NEA State Delegates. Based upon the election results, Rainier Council members (That’s Us!) must vote again in a runoff election to determine who will be representing us on the WEA Board of Directors.
Online voting continues through midnight March 22. Please share this email with your fellow WEA members within your UniServ Council and cast your vote. Go to this website to access your ballot. We have great candidates, including our very own Zanovia Clark, who remains in that race. Please support the election process and vote!
When you log in, you will find instructions on how to vote and the names of the candidates running to represent Rainier UniServ Council. When you click on the candidate's name, if they provided short biographical information, you will see it pop up there. If you ever need help, simply click the "I Need Help" option, and election support will get back to you within 24 hours so please don’t wait until the last day to vote.
HOW CAN I HELP? Today, Puget Sound area local associations received this urgent request from Federal Way EA President Shannon McCann:
I hope this email finds you, your members, and students safe and healthy.
When the closures were announced, members immediately reached out how to volunteer and help. Simultaneously, the blood banks have declared they are near collapse.
Many of us have spoken and agreed members who are safe and able, would appreciate the opportunity to give back to the community in this critical way. Realizing the need is now and that we’re all social distancing, members could go anytime when they’re able (rather than a set time or date where we all went together).
This link to blood banks and a social media graphic to post also includes an info sheet about the covid-19 precautions being taken at BloodworksNW. In the interest of safety and social distancing, we checked to verify that everyone who is donating is screened before donating.
This could become a visible symbol of commitment to the community, if members posted their story or photo on social media with hashtags #RedForEd and #ProudToBeUnion.