June 19, 2020
In this Issue: RECN, SROs, Policing, SPOG, Bargaining Update, Impact Bargaining, NBCT/Certification
Dear HEA Members,
It is mindboggling to realize that this week’s EFocus is our last one of the school year. Monday we will post a special edition honoring our retiring members. Please send in a short bio/statement if you wish to be included. Don’t worry, however, periodic editions will be released over the summer to keep you updated on CBA negotiations and actions you can take to advocate, educate, organize and empower!
As you head off to summer break (or summer school for some of you!), there is uncertainty, turmoil, grief and outrage experienced by community members and our own members here and beyond, in Minnesota, in Kentucky, in Georgia, in California, in Tacoma and right at home. Please know that HEA is fighting for your lives, our students’ lives, and our community’s future. Watch for multiple ways you can engage in this struggle, either listed here or on our website over the coming months. Below there are several google forms that will allow you to express your preferences, opinions, and to take your involvement to the next level.
If you would like to participate in planning the future of the union, please set aside Monday, August 10th for a HEA Retreat. I hope you have a chance to show your appreciation to your building and program reps. They have put in countless hours this year on member business. Please know there is a place for everyone to be involved to whatever degree you are interested. Just hit reply to learn more.
Of course we all need to rest, relax, and recharge, so please take care of those needs as well. Next week, I will be sending out information on NEA Benefits which might help you to do just that! I will be taking a few weeks off myself in July after the NEA (virtual) RA on July 2-3. Thank you Emma Caro Bernal, Zanovia Clark, Tamasha Emedi, Shawna Moore, Nalene Nguyen, Gabriela Olivarez, Leslie Sokolik, and Katie Utesch for representing at this year’s NEA Rep Assembly.
I would be remiss if I did not thank Portia Robinson, HEA’s exceedingly excellent executive assistant as well as Elizabeth Beck our amazing WEA UniServ Director and Lori Fleck, our fabulous WEA Field Assistant. We could not ask for a better team to be supporting us! Finally, thank you all you amazing Highline educators for your patience and support this year. I have been honored to represent you and will continue to do my best for you, our students, and our community.
RECN. All HEA members recently received an email from our very own Rainier Educators of Color Network (RECN) Core Equity Leadership Team, sharing their letter on #Black Lives Matter and a White Allies' and Accomplices' Statement. Please take a few moments to read these powerful statements. A Google form containing opportunities for you as Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) or White Allies and Accomplices who wish to join RECN, is available here. I personally encourage you to sign on.
SROs in or out of HPS. At the last school board meeting, Director Garcia proposed ending HPS’s contract for SROs. The board chose to ignore his motion. The June 24th and July 8th school board meetings are critical for influencing the coming year. On June 24th the school district will make its 2020-21 budget presentation. Please send in your comments and plan to attend. The hearing will run from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Followed by the school board meeting. On July 8th, the budget will likely be adopted. Saturday, June 26th will be an all-day board retreat starting at 9:00AM. This is also an open hearing. Pop in on zoom if you can.
Per HPS: Live public comment is available for virtual public hearings, but your comments, questions, or concerns are welcome. Testimony slots are on a first come, first served basis and testimony is limited. Each written testimony will be read for up to 2 minutes. If you wish to address the Board, please email your statement to Kyle Minaglia by 12:00 p.m. (noon) on the day of a board meeting.
Your HEA Executive Board will consider a similar motion at our board meeting on Monday afternoon. Please share your thoughts on the following motion using this form.
…that the HEA call for HSD to terminate its contract with the King County Sheriff Department—as well as the Burien, SeaTac, and Des Moines Police Departments—and remove SROs (school resource officers) from Highline Public Schools, and that HSD determine how to reinvest those funds based on feedback from spaces created by HSD for community members that center BIPOC values and voices.
Policing Communities. Earlier in the week, the HEA Executive Board passed the following motion: The HEA supports efforts to defund police and redirect the resources for BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color)-led social services as appropriate. With HPS releasing next year’s budget on June 24 (5:00PM), watch for ways to advocate for resources being directed towards meeting the social and emotional needs of our students.
SPOG out of MLK Labor. With a new focus on police unions and the need for organized labor to address its role in structural racism, the MLK Labor Council was forced to confront its silence on police brutality. Wednesday, MLK delegates from dozens of King County locals passed a historic motion submitted by the HEA Representative Council to expel the Seattle Police Officers Guild. (BTW-This was a very big deal!) Check out the news here. The effort was spearheaded by Isaura Jimenez Guerra, Rupika Madhavan, Tamasha Emedi, Michael Williams, Shannon Dowdy, and MLK Delegate Joe Thomas. Much appreciation to them and to the partnership forged with many other unions to make this happen. Please also thank additional MLK Delegates, Leslie Sokolik and Ryan Reilly, who have represented HEA this year.
Bargaining Update. After three full joint session days, we have paused to make sure bargaining team members had enough time to close out their school year. Six more joint sessions are scheduled for the summer and the HEA team will be caucusing in between. In June, the joint team spent many hours working through the topic of behavior and discipline. They will be returning to discuss equity, ESAs, special education, and dual language, among other things. Obviously this year is completely unprecedented due to literally everything being an unknown at this point, but rest assured your team is working hard and looking out for everybody. We hope you send your appreciation their way as well.
Impact Bargaining for School Openings. Social worker schedules have been adjusted for the next school year so they have the flexibility to provide coverage in support of families over the summer. Please thank your ESAs—counselors, social workers, nurses, SLP/OT/PTs—and your special education staff who have all been working their hearts out for their students while fighting paperwork and bureaucracy inherent in the system.
As you may have seen, OSPI released its guidance/non-guidance for opening schools. WEA and NEA are focused on health and safety, equity of access, economic security, and flexibility. For HEA, we are placing a renewed emphasis on workload. The school district has five steering committees meeting between now and September, focused on the reopening of schools. While there are HEA members on each team, HEA has also been allowed to appoint one representative to each: Renee Agatsuma (Academics), Debby Strayer (Operations), Anamarleny Alvarez-Villa (Social Emotional/Engagement), Cheri Clymer (Distance Learning), and Sandy Hunt (Human Resources). Please join me in thanking all our members who have volunteered for this important summertime work.
National Boards and Certificate Renewal. Barbara Edwards, our own OSPI NB Regional Coordinator, encourages you to start your Boards this the fall. To learn more about that, NBPTS is holding info sessions on June 30, and July 1. Visit NBPTS to register for upcoming live webinars and also view these resources once posted. Highline will be hosting information sessions about our specific supports in the fall. Visit our own Highline National Board Website to read about supports bargained into our CBA. Directions for the stipend will be on the site later this week. In addition, WEA and OSPI hold information sessions on National Board certification and provide professional development supporting other recertification options.
And remember….get those clockhours turned in to Human Resources!
Have a great summer y’all!