In this issue: COVID MOU & FAQ, Contract Ratification, Salary Schedule, Transformation, NEA Benefits, Discounts, Financial Trainings: October 13 and 20
September 11, 2020
Dear HEA Members,
I would like to extend a special welcome to our newest members and send best wishes to all those returning to Highline. While many unknowns lie ahead for this year, your HEA leaders have been working throughout the summer to ensure your safe return to work. I am very appreciative of the Executive Board, RUC board members, your Building and Program Reps and the Bargaining Team members. Please personally thank these leaders for their work over the summer when you have the opportunity.
Leader names and contact information will soon be updated on the HEA Website, where you can also find our COVID Impact bargaining agreement posted on the contract page. This document was reviewed with the HEA Rep Council last month. They are prepared to present it to members in buildings so please attend your September HEA meeting. We continue to hold weekly meetings to address all unresolved and newly identified issues including special education, ESA, elementary specialist schedules among others. After reading the agreement, if you have questions, feedback or suggestions, please use this handy form to share your thoughts.
Even as you build connections with our students, I ask you to remain open to the possibility that a traditional school day may not work for each one of them. We are aiming to hold a town hall with the support of the MLK Labor Council on September 17 to learn how our families are coping and what alternative structures might work best for them. As we strive to be a more inclusive school system, we must continue to work with our families to determine novel ways to reach our students. Thank you for your dedication to our students and your flexibility over the upcoming weeks as we continue to adjust to our new normal.
Q. How soon will students be brought into buildings?
The MOU outlines a process and a series of steps that must occur for the safe return of students to buildings. At least two weeks prior to a transition between remote and hybrid educational models, the impact bargaining team will return to the table to address any items to be negotiated as a result of the change in models that have not been addressed via ongoing problem-solving discussions. A number of health and safety protocols and procedures designed by the district operations team need to be operationalized for buildings where students will return. Equipment, training, and communication must be provided so everyone is knowledgeable and confident. The safety plan for any such buildings must be communicated at least two weeks before any staff are required to report to a worksite. Any affected staff will have the opportunity to review their options for leave and or alternate assignments, per the Reopening Schools MOU. If you are in a high-risk category and qualify for an alternative assignment, please be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor soon in order to have a note in hand for this school year. Exploring your options early may be valuable, so you are prepared to communicate with HSD Human Resources if/when necessary.
Q. Does Wednesday take the place of Friday PCT?
No. PCT is cancelled for this year. The weekly principal-directed meeting time has been brought into the school day replacing WAC time (with secondary principals provided an additional 30 minutes) Everyone continues to have their individual planning time. Collaboration time is designed to be spent with natural teams who are teaching the same standards either in your school or across schools if needed for collaboration to occur. Here is some guidance that went out in last Friday’s admin packet.
Q. Will there be Job-Alikes this year?
On Wednesdays, educators can organize themselves across sites in natural groupings. Beyond that, HSD and HEA both agree job-alikes are valuable and should be offered. Planning will get started soon and the thought is they will be optional.
Q. Have any decisions been made around Psych/SLP/OT/PT service delivery?
Labor-Management discussions have begun and a request has been made to bargain the impact of any in-person service delivery, including testing and therapy. Reach out to your HEA Rep for specific guidance received to date.
Q. How will ACT time be implemented this year?
For self-contained teachers, it continues to be 5 release days. For LRC teachers, they should be excused from the instructional period on Wednesdays and use that as their ACT time. Remember that the intent of ACT time is for Assessment, Collaboration & Teaming. For this year, especially, the instructional time on Wednesdays would be a good opportunity to pull students for assessments, as they should already expect to be involved in small groups, etc. during that time.
Q. Do I need to record every lesson? Any lesson?
We understand family schedules may get in the way of a student participating live some days. Teachers will post all new instruction online for student/family to access at a later time. This may be accomplished by recording the zoom session, use of Screencastify, video, and/or other online lesson forms which ensure student access to new learning. Here is the link to that answer from the district if you wish to explore more:
Two-year Contract (CBA) Ratified. On September 2, close to 600 HEA members overwhelmingly approved the negotiated changes to the 2020-21 CBA with a 96% yes vote. A copy of all changes (underlined additions and removed strike-throughs) can be found at this link which includes a draft of this year’s salary schedule on the last page. If the link has been moved, find it under school board agenda archives here. The new contract will be posted on the HEA and HSD websites in its entirety once all the changes have been incorporated.
Transforming Ourselves and Our Union. Actionable steps have been taken and a variety of avenues opened that will lead to important gains for Black Lives in our school district. Please email Sandy Hunt to learn more about these opportunities for impact.
- The Highline Equity and Anti-Racist Team (HEART), newly established through contract negotiations, will help us identify necessary professional learning and assist schools in setting up site-based equity teams.
- The MLK Labor Council, to which HEA belongs, is looking for members to center and build their anti-racist work across the King County labor movement.
- Our next HEA virtual strategic planning meeting will be held October 5 (4:30-6:00). All HEA members are invited to continue the work of transforming our union to reflect our values.
- HEA thrives through the volunteer efforts of our members. Last school year, over 200 member leaders volunteered either on the HEA Rep Council or on various committees and task forces, bringing member voice and experience into decision-making processes within the union, the district, and the community.
RECN and HARWE. Contact Lori Fleck to attend the September Rainier Educator of Color Network meeting on Sept 17 after school. If you would like to learn more about the Highline Anti-Racist White Educators, we have joined up with RECN. We recently finished discussing Dr. Kendi’s How to be an Anti-Racist, and we will take up the book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson in early October. Watch for more information coming soon.
How To Jump-Start Your Union - Book Group w/ Teamsters. Worried about the state of public education and wondering what you can do about it? Don't agonize - organize! In a new book group, we will read How to Jump-Start Your Union, a short book that details the specific organizing principles and strategies behind the 2012 Chicago Teachers' Union (CTU) strike, led by the newly formed Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE). CTU and CORE fought against school closures, privatization, and institutional racism, and established a model for organizing that's been successful from West Virginia to California. We will meet every other week to learn about how our fellow educators built their own power by democratizing their union and standing in solidarity with families and their community, and connect these efforts to those in our own district. If you are interested, please fill out this form - we hope to have this group up and running the first week of October, and it will run for most of the first semester. HEA will reimburse the cost of books for those members who attend all sessions.
Make the Most of Your Union Membership. As a member of NEA you have access to 75+ programs and services developed specifically for members to save them time and money. Sign up for NEA Benefits and learn how to access these benefits and START saving now. A couple of examples are below. HEA will be host two upcoming zoom classes: Financial Essentials on Oct 13 and Navigating Student Debt on Oct 20 so please save these dates and watch for more information coming soon.
Looking for Speed…and Savings?!? HEA members can sign up for new AT&T service, switch from a different carrier or apply the NEA member discount to your existing AT&T account—online or in person—and save! NEA members receive up to a 15% discount on monthly cell phone service,* and 20% off select wireless accessories.** Subscribers also get free use of AT&T’s 34,000 hotspots across the U.S.! Find all the details at NEA Benefits. *15% Monthly Service Charge discount applicable to Qualified Charges. **Some exclusions apply.
Tips for Buying a Car Online During a Crisis. If getting a new car is on your essentials list during this tough time, consider these tips for a smart shopping experience.