In this Issue: BLM at School, RIFs/Displacements, School Board Message, Elections of All Sorts, PG&E per our MOU, Ventilation, Upcoming Dates, Graduation Pathway Feedback
April 26, 2021
In the last year, we have been challenged to address disproportionate impacts of the pandemic in ways that respect the needs of our families, our students, and our members. While sharing the same values, competing solutions have, at times, seemed at odds. With almost half our students back in buildings, our work continues. In the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin murder conviction, we will continue to reform systems that harm people of color and particularly our students.
To this end, your HEA Executive Board has committed us to achieving the Black Lives Matter at School four demands. This is on-going and critical work that we are centering in the bargaining of our contract, our funding, and our union structures. Below are a few ways you can be involved.
First, starting in May and over the summer a union committee will prepare recommendations for reforms to our constitution and by-laws to be voted on at our August general membership meeting. If you are interested in being part of that work, which includes revisions to the use of parliamentary procedure, please email me.
If you missed the link in previous editions, the union (through the Rainier UniServ Council) has been funding members of the Rainier Educators of Color Network to create Black Lives Matter lessons for PreK-High School instruction. I encourage you be a part of this by joining RECN and accessing these outstanding resources. We are also looking to form our own CORE HEA team and building our equity reach at every worksite. Please email Shawna Moore for more information.
If you want to jump in with two feet, nominations remain open for HEA Executive Board positions and annual elections for the Rainier UniServ Council will take place on May 3. More details are included below.
Finally, please know that your union leadership values your on-going commitment to the Highline community. We do not anticipate a reduction-in-force (RIF or lay-offs) for our full-time educators. Each year, however, part-time educators are at risk of lay-off. Please see section 9 of our contract for more information. That said, ensuring everyone has a position commensurate with their endorsement will potentially necessitate even more displacements than is typical.
Please keep in mind there is language piloted during this CBA to support our newest members by maintaining provisional teachers in their buildings. This language, found at the bottom of p. 166 in our contract, is designed to foster diversity in the workplace by helping to keep a higher proportion of Educators of Color in schools where they were hired. Seniority, however, will continue to govern reduction-in-force, which may impact displacements.
School Board Message. The messages shared this week with the board are that we must prioritize spending on counselors and mental health supports for our students over hiring campus police officers. We also called out that students must see themselves reflected in the instructional materials purchased by the district. That was included as a priority in the recent Language Arts adoption. We are also finding and funding new practices that end exclusions from classrooms. Work underway includes:
- Recently bargained joint committees for equity and student support are developing approaches and recommendations to transform our systems around student support, curriculum adoption, educator training and retention of our Educators of Color.
- Evergreen and Highline High Schools received funding this year to develop alternatives to SROs on campus.
- Advocating for a science curriculum that meets the needs of our dual language classrooms first and foremost. (We continue to look for additional dual language teachers to sit on this committee so please email Sandy to be a part of this work.) Watch for information about upcoming curriculum adoption opportunities.
HEA Elections. Voting for open positions on the Executive Board will be by electronic ballot during the week of May 10-14. Candidates will be given the opportunity to share a 2-minute speech at the May 3 Rep Council zoom meeting at 4:30 p.m.
Elementary teachers and members in Specialist roles (Elementary specialists and librarians, all ESAs, central office roles and building-based specialists), still have time to nominate themselves for the HEA Executive Board. Candidates will be given the opportunity to share a 2-minute speech at the June 1 Rep Council zoom meeting at 4:30 p.m. Note the change of date for the Rep Council needed in order to hold this special election. Voting for these positions will be held June 7-11.
RUC Council Election. Nominations open, close and will be voted on for five one-year positions on the Rainier UniServ Council. All candidates will also have the opportunity to make a 2-minute speech.
Please email Katie Utesch by 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 2, to ensure you receive the link and Julie Kastien to nominate yourself as a candidate for any of these positions.
WEA Elections Results. Thank you HEA delegates for participating in the 2021 WEA Virtual Representative Assembly. Delegates re-elected Larry Delaney and Janie White as President and Vice President, and Washougal teacher Charlotte Lartey as a NEA State Director. President Delaney and Vice-President White will serve another two years (2021-2023) while Lartey's position is for three years (2021-2024). Jeb Binns continues in his NEA State Director role for another year! Thank you all for serving our members at the state and national levels.
Community Candidate Endorsement Process. If you are a WEA-PAC member and would like to join the endorsement process for 2021 community races such as school board and local city council races, and other elected officials, please email WEA-PAC Chair Leslie Sokolik. If you are not a WEA-PAC member, please use this link to join and be part of the movement to elect pro-education and pro-union candidates!
Community Elections. Looking to advance the labor agenda? If you are a PCC member, please vote for labor candidates in the upcoming PCC board election by May 3. See the 2021 Board Election Guide | PCC Community Markets for details.
Hybrid Impacts on PG&E Processes. With the transition to hybrid instruction, HEA and HSD recognized that there could be potential impacts on the Professional Growth & Evaluation (PG&E) process for some classroom teachers, and we took this into account in our shared agreements.
The main components of these provisions are as follows:
- No adverse impact: Teacher evaluations should not be adversely impacted by the transition to hybrid instruction. HEA and HSD will collaborate on guidance for teachers and evaluators on circumstances when a summative evaluation should not be completed due to unusual circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
- Student Growth Goals: All classroom teachers will be asked to write a short (3-5 sentences) reflective statement about what they have learned this year through the student growth goal process and submit this reflection to their evaluator through Standards for Success. Upon submission of their reflection prior to May 1, the teacher will receive a 3 – Proficient score for component 3.2 or 6.2, as appropriate.
- Observations: Observations to be used for the PG&E scoring process will not occur within the first two weeks of a teacher’s in-person learning start date or a significant class reconfiguration.
- Additional guidance regarding modifications to the PG&E Process for the 2020-21 school year can be found in the January 29 Admin Packet.
Ventilation Safety. Scott Logan's facilities crew worked on ventilation over spring break. Brian Cebe was there with his team and outside contractors to ensure that our MOU ventilation agreements were fully implemented. We know getting into every classroom was a heavy lift, and we appreciate the effort our teamster siblings have shown on our behalf. Here is our final report. Principals should have building reports. Our team is looking forward to supporting district efforts at securing funds to upgrade the ventilation of those systems in need.
Upcoming Dates of Interest
- HEA Nominations Remain Open for Specialist Rep and Elementary Rep: April 5-June 1
- HSD School Board Meeting: April 21
- HEA Exec Board Meeting: April 26
- HEA Rep Council Meeting and election of RUC Representatives: May 3 (Zoom@4:30)
- HSD School Board Meeting: May 5
- HEA Officers Electronic Election Round One: May 10-14
- Memorial Day: May 31
- HEA Rep Council (date change): TUESDAY, June 1 (note change from June 7 to accommodate election timeline)
- Annual VEBA Vote: June 2 (Zoom@ 4:45) for members 55+ and w/ 180+ of sick leave
- HEA Officer Electronic Elections Round Two: June 7-11
Feedback Graduation Pathways. The State Board of Education is looking for feedback on its existing graduation pathways. The survey closes at midnight May 2 and is open to all high school and district staff, current high school students, and families of current high school students.