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April 18, 2020

Immigrant Support, HEA Elections, Substitute Teachers, Leaves, Impact Bargain, New Ways to Contact Students, Jump Start, NEA Town-Hall, WideOpenSchool Shut Down

Dear HEA Members,

Your continued dedication to our students and our community is so appreciated. Please know that HPS and HEA remain steadfast in addressing equity of access for our most vulnerable learners.  If you have suggestions for equitable access to distance learning or for school openings in the Fall, please let me know as we will be developing an idea bank to share with the district and with WEA. 

As we move into next week, the district wants to take things off your plate so you can focus on your instruction.  Please take a few minutes to read the HEA/HPS FAQ around contractual provisions (including meetings) during distance learning -- and see the Friday evening memo from HR asking you to tranfer the task of contacting any families you have not been successful in reaching personally to central office to continue those efforts.

With so much going on, please note that the voluntary transfer window is now open. HR sent out a memo about this last week. In addition, while at this point in time, the district is hoping to avoid any layoffs of full-time educators, individuals are being displaced to other worksites due to reduced enrollment or program changes. Administrators should first ask for volunteers in the event of a necessary displacement. If you have questions about your diplacement, please email HR directly. FInally, for everyone planning to continue working in HPS next year, we anticipate 2020-21 contracts going out near the end of April.  Please follow the directions provided by HR and sign/return them electronically within 14 days.

Stay safe, Stay healthy, and still Stay home,


Sandy

Immigrant Support.  One America has come through again with information helpful to immigrants in King County.

HEA Elections. Nominations are still open for HEA Executive Board High School Representative. Incumbent Brandice Tranholt is the sole candidate for the Elementary Representative and Katie Utesch is the only candidate running for HEA Secretary.  Candidates will be given the opportunity to share a 2-minute speech and a 75-word candidate statement for the electronic ballot. Vote May 11-15.

Five one-year positions for HEA Representative on the Rainier UniServ Council will be nominated at the Monday, May 4 HEA Representative Council meeting held on zoom at 4:00 PM.  Candidates will be given the opportunity to make a 2-minute speech and will be elected by the HEA Representative Council.  Please email Debby Strayer by 4:30PM on May 4th to nominate yourself.

That said, at the April 27th HEA Executive Board Meeting, the Board may adopt modifications to the HEA and/or RUC election process in order to conduct safe and fair elections aligned with the social distancing orders.

Support for Substitute Teachers.  Unfortunately a number of our guest teachers have not qualified for unemployment benefits yet.  They will not be able to access their new application until after 8PM on April 18th.  They should continue to check out the ESD.wa.gov website to get ready to apply.  Their new receptionist line is 833-572-8400 or sign up for one of their webinars

HEA has been attempting to reach every HEA guest teacher to determine how we can support them from our crisis fund.  To date, nearly 70 dedicated HEA guest teachers have received an appreciation fund stipend with 10 of those accessing additional funds from the crisis account.  Substitutes should contact Portia Robinson to provide the needed information to access these funds. And BTW, the ESD is hiring temporary workers.

Leaves.  COVID Leave through the federal CARES Act is available to those who are sick with COVID-19, who are caring for someone who has the virus, or who are unable to work due to lack of childcare. Keep in mind that these paid leaves follow the federal guidelines and are separate from contractual leave provisions. More information is avaolable on the HPS website. Please remember to email Human Resources and your administrator if you need to access leave anytime during this health crisis.

Impact Bargain Update.  This week, we reached a shared understanding on the following topics.  Friday evening HR released a statement along with a Q&A to guide interpretation of the contract in light of distance learning and remote work requirements.  Shared Leadership teams may need to meet to review building plans and make adjustments as soon as possible. A few highlights include:
•    Staff meetings may be held weekly.
•    PCT may continue on its current schedule or the shared leadership team may trade out all the remaining PCTs for 1 hour of principal-directed meeting time per week.
•    Natural teams will control meetings they need for the planning and assessment of student learning.
•    The SLT/IPT may establish a reasonable number of office hours.
•    Committees may continue to meet on the same rotation schedule prior to building closures as long as there is a reason to meet.
•    A Letter of Agreement on educator performance evaluations was signed yesterday and will be released soon.
•    HEA Reps are available to meet with Admin teams to troubleshoot and refer to HR/HEA leadership if needed.
•    General education teachers should attend meetings scheduled to address their students’ needs and should collaborate with a student's special education teachers in order to adjust their instruction to meet student needs.  This does not imply they must hold weekly meetings.

Impact Bargain Timeline. Issues will continue to be addressed in Labor-Management Meetings through the end of the school year.
•    Substantive progress was made on expectations for grading; however, OSPI will be providing additional guidance soon which may impact agreements.
•    ESAs and SpEd union leaders will meet on Monday to discuss workload issues in light of HPS’s interpretation of new OSPI guidance.
•    Discussions to address special education and ESA issues are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Two New Ways to Reach Students.
•    District-provided Google Voice - contact EHelpDesk@highlineschools.org for more information
•    Central Office phone bank - contact EHelpDesk@highlineschools.org for more information

Please keep in mind that as you reach out to your students and learn about their situation, you are a mandatory abuse reporter to WSDCYF (formally CPS).


WEA PD - Sign up Early.  Remember, HEA will reimburse any WEA or NEA course registration fees upon confirmation of attendance.  Please email Portia Robinson with your documentation of payment.

WEA Jump Start.  Attend a four-day comprehensive seminar designed to provide National Board candidates with important information about the certification process, time to examine component and Assessment Center requirements, the opportunity to plan how to meet requirements, and time to collaborate, gather resources and information needed to pursue certification.  They anticipate the registration fee for these events to be approximately $200 for active WEA members.  Given many unknowns due to COVID-19 and the possible need for ongoing social distancing, it is possible some/all of these in-person trainings may be canceled.  They are exploring the possibility of offering the Jump Start curriculum through online delivery if this remains to be the case.

WEA and OEA National Board Jump Start In-Person Trainings (subject to change):

Spokane, WA: June 23-26, 2020 [WEA event]
Eugene, OR: July 27-30, 2020 [OEA event]
Seattle/Puget Sound Area, WA: August 3-6, 2020 [WEA event]
Portland, OR: August 3-6, 2020 [OEA event]
Bend, OR: August 10-13, 2020 [OEA event]

At this time they are encouraging pre-registrations for these events.  Please fill out this preregistration form.  Note: This pre-registration does not bind you to attend, nor is payment required at this time.  This information will be used for planning and candidate outreach purposes this spring and summer.  WEA will be in touch with pre-registrants later this spring with updates about program offerings and official registration. 

NEA Tele-Town Hall. Join other educators across the country for the National Education Association’s event, “Tele-townhall with Dr. Jill Biden and Lily Eskelsen García” – sign up now to join!


Using Digital Tools Safely. 
TLL is working to ensure they are supporting staff with resources that have been vetted through an online tool committee and aligned with the district frameworks. They have concluded that not all of the resources on the WideOpenSchool link are safe to use with students and aligned with the district’s  goals.    A process exists to offer guidance around the selection of digital tools that are safe to use with students and align with Highline's strategic plan goals and foundations. The Digital Tool Review Committee, comprised of members of Communications, Technology, and Teaching Learning & Leadership departments, evaluates digital tools. Before using a digital tool with students or families, they need all staff to review the LearnPlatform Library of Tools.  

Staff can also request that digital tools be reviewed by the DTR Committee through the LearnPlatform link, searching for the tool, and clicking the "request" option.