May 15, 2020
In this Issue...Bargaining, Impact 2020, Race to the Right, School Board Connection, For the Record, Mind Your Q&As
Dear HEA Members,
This week HEA leaders and members have shared their ideas, so please take a moment to check those out. Also, find answers to your most frequent questions! More news about this year’s open bargain is also included below.
Please, please, PLEASE reach out to the appropriate administrator or your HEA Rep if you are struggling with your workload and feel free to email me by replying to any EFocus newsletter. For Special Education Teachers and ESAs, that means emailing Gaye Bungart or Darren Spencer to let them know you need help! HEA is reaching out to counselors, social workers, and specialists in the coming week.
HPS will be sending out educator, student and family distance learning perception surveys in the coming week so please fill yours out with your perceptions. Watch for more ways to share your input for the upcoming year in future EFocus publications.
Your HEA Reps turned out in full force on Monday, May 4th and elected four members to next year’s Rainier UniServ Council Board: Sandra Aguila, Shawna Moore, Stephanie Nelson, and Debbie Strayer, as well as re-elected Leslie Sokolik. Congratulations to them and to Zanovia Clark (your incoming WEA Rainier Board Director). They will be joining Jeb Binns (NEA State Board Director) and me as your HEA representatives on the council level. A BIG thanks to outgoing RUC board members Kevin Garber, Tamasha Emedi, Julie Kastien, and Rupika Madhavan.
Wishing you a restful weekend with the people and pets you love either in-person, by phone or virtually. More next week….
My best to you all,
P.S. Voting closes for HEA Executive Board two-year positions on Friday, May 15 at 5:30 PM. You can use this link to access your ballot which will take about 45 seconds to complete.
Bargaining Update. Your bargaining team has worked many, many hours so far using an interest-based bargaining process with the district team, as well as many hours planning together in our HEA caucus. We have discussed many topics and presented several stories from varied perspectives as we work toward solutions to address pressing workplace needs, contractual and otherwise. We also have several joint subcommittees (including, but not limited to: Special Education, Dual Language and WAKids) charged with providing joint recommendations for adoption when the joint committee negotiates those topics.There are several more scheduled joint session days in May and June, and your HEA team is in caucus frequently - planning and doing homework which helps us reach agreements. It is likely we will continue working through the summer.
This bargain is challenging due to the uncertainties regarding budget allocations and fiscal necessities. There are many unknowns as we progress, and both teams are working together to make sure that anything we end up settling on is reasonable and leads to tangible benefits. Your HEA team has spent many days reviewing and discussing all sources of information, including listening session results, bargaining survey data, email communication, letters received from groups and individuals and countless conversations with members. We have our fellow HEA members, and everything that is important to you, in our minds at all times.
Topics for consideration (colloquially known as the matrix), which have been brought forward by either or both teams, currently include: advisory, behavior/discipline, building schedule waivers, class size, compensation, co-teaching, CTE preps, equity for students, ESA workload, families/educators of color and other marginalized communities, financial uncertainties, hiring committees, implementation training/planning, individually-directed planning time, leave, PCT, professional development, professional responsibilities, religious observances, school grants and pilots, shared leadership and distributive leadership teams, standards-based grading, substitutes, teacher leadership, time allotment for secondary conferences, and duration reopeners. Additionally, we are working through all LOAs and MOUs to update the wording as needed and are continually engaged in contract cleanup (updating and improving language).
While the team works hard to keep all member issues at the forefront, it is not always possible to address everything in one bargain. Therefore, topics noted above may or may not stay on the matrix for 2020. Please know that we will continue to work towards solutions over time.. -Thara Cooper, Bargaining Chair
Your HEA Bargaining Team members include: Thara Cooper, Elizabeth Beck, Jeb Binns, Claudia Conroy, Rich Coker Richard Dunn, Veronica Fairchild, Edissa Jaramillo, and Julie Mahieu, in ongoing consultation with your president Sandy Hunt.
Impact 2020. It’s never been clearer than during this pandemic that we need a serious change in Washington DC. The spotlight has illuminated the disparities and the holes are shameful. Please take the time to visit the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education (NEAFCPE), the political action committee fund established by the National Education Association. This NEA fund does more than just Presidential Nominations. This fund is used to support pro-education candidates for House and Senate races across the country. A vast majority of PAC contributions are funneled back into our State to help us elect the best candidates for students and members. The fund is hurting this year because of the cancellation of the NEA RA where delegates are encouraged to contribute $200. Please consider a contribution of some of your stimulus check to make a generation of positive impact…. - Jeb Binns, NEA Director
Race to the Right (on the salary schedule). WEA members have earned thousands of clock hours since the end of March…in their PJs. Union training opportunities allow us to gain new skills while moving up on the salary scale. This is because 10 clockhours = 1 college credit. A variety of online trainings will again be offered in to help you navigate next steps with your certification renewal as well. All trainings are free, open only to WEA members and often offer free clock hours. Remember if there ever a cost, HEA will reimburse your receipt after you have completed the course. Just email Portia Robinson.
• Teacher Certification 101 (3 hours)
• National Board Information Session (2 hours)
• Professional Growth Plan 1 (3 hours)
• Professional Growth Plan 2 (2 hours)
• Professional Growth Plan 3 (2 hours)
To learn more about these courses and to register, go to the WEA certification page.
School Board Connection. The school board had a lively debate during last week’s board meeting on a motion to approve the HPS Continuous Learning Plan, in particularly, the High School Grading Policy. The next HPS School Board meeting is scheduled for June 3. If you wish to have your public comment read into the record at the meeting, your statement must be emailed to HPS by noon on June 3.
For the Record. It was wonderful hearing from GH educator Russell Stahlke who submitted the following public comment for the school board’s public record. "When the coronavirus crisis occurred, one of the major setbacks to education was how it disrupted the communication between teachers and families, as teachers lost access to their school phone, and not every family had email or internet access setup - plus, this sort of communication does not replace speaking on the phone, hearing one anothers' voice and having a conversation. The addition of Google Voice licenses by the district was a major step in the right direction, and has worked wonders in my school and I am sure others. I recommend that the district plans to maintain this tool for the foreseeable future in the crisis and post-crisis educational world to support positive relationships with families, which are so vital to our Highline Promise. Thank you." If you would like for HEA to include your comments “For the Record,” please cc me when you send them to HPS.
Your Most Pressing Questions Answered
Q: What can you tell us about the calendar?
A: May 25th is Memorial Day and a non-work day. May 26th is a make-up for an earlier emergency day and is considered a student day. Most members did not work on March 16, 17, 18 and will be working on June 17, 18, 19 to make up for those non-paid days. Central Office HEA members, who worked those days, please confirm with your administrator if you have not identified your non-work days yet. The calendar has not yet been released for next school year.
Q: How is HEA\WEA\NEA supporting our members during this crisis?
A: The HEA is providing substitute teachers with appreciation and crisis grants. Please reply to this newsletter to access help. The WEA is currently mailing $575 checks out to those who qualified and still has funds for members laid off or struggling financially during this crisis. Apply here. Finally, NEA has a long list of ways for members to access financial support or save money during these challenging times.
Q: How do I get help with fraudulent unemployment claims filed in my name?
A: HPS is following up with all members for whom they are receiving unemployment claims. If you believe you are a victim of fraud, the state Employment Security Department recommends that you go to the unemployment benefits fraud web page. This web page has a toll-free line, 800-246-9763, for reporting identity theft as well as a link to an electronic form for reporting suspected unemployment fraud. This information goes to a special unit dedicated to finding and stopping unemployment fraud.
Q: Where might I get help if I am concerned about Identity Theft?
A: All HPS employees have access to the First Choice Health Employee Assistance Program (initial password highlinesd) which provides resources to address identity theft. In addition, HEA members can access a ton of resources including information on safeguarding your identity through services on the NEA Benefits page. Set up an account today if you haven’t done so.
Q: Should I be receiving student overload pay during the shutdown?
A: Yes, as long as parents have not unenrolled a student from your room, your class or case load is based on your attendance list, not who is or isn’t attending.
Q: Will 3rd-grade teachers be paid for conducting additional conferences with families whose child requires additional support to achieve grade level standards?
A: HPS announced that third grade teachers will be conducting additional conferences (pursuant to RCW 28A.655.230). Conferences should be budgeted at twenty minutes in length each and will include the third grade teacher and a principal or designee. However, as per 4.13.C.iii in the CBA, a teacher’s extra service payments will be calculated based on the actual conferencing time incurred even if it exceeds the budgeted amount. The extra service rate is currently $38.25/hour. Please see Section 4.13.C (p 23-24 of the CBA) for more details.
Q: Can we still get medical and dental claims paid for services received in the Fall just because we switched insurers on January 1?
A: Yes. Claims from last fall should be paid by your previous insurer. If you have difficulties getting paid, please contact HR Benefits.