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In the Issue:

1. Superintendant Finalist Interviews 
2. RECN Equity Conference (Feb 4-5)
3. HSD Responses to HEA Rep Proposals
4. WEA Winter Trainings
5. SEBB Hearing Benefit for Educators 
123
January 25, 2022

Dear Members,

Please attend your monthly HEA Building/Program Meeting to share your issues and needs.  These are being shared by reps and compiled to determine your biggest concerns.  Below are the district responses to the issues raised by Reps earlier this month.  Please note we have made progress on several issues:

  • forming a COVID sick leave pool for staff out of leave (in-progress), 
  • more rigorous safety protocols (to be released to principals on Wednesday), 
  • easy access to adult-sized KN-95 masks for all staff and students who request them,
  • improved contact tracing for guest teachers.  

Now is the time to be wearing KN-95 masks, and the district has aplenty.  Child-sized surgical masks are also readily available and appear to be effective when worn properly. We continue to advocate for adjustable masks for our “tweeners.”

Substitute fill-rates have improved as absence rates have gone down. Recent data is shared below. A special thanks to our building-based specialists and other non-classroom teachers as well as our central office specialists who are continuing to cover unfilled jobs during this surge.  The $100/hour emergency coverage rate is under review for February so stay tuned for any district changes.

HEA is working with HSD to identify additional means of retaining our dedicated staff.  Each of you fill a critical position across our schools and the school system.  New this school year is a protocol for reporting your safety concerns.  If you have raised your concern with your building administrator and it is not or cannot be resolved, report the issue to HR using the “Safety Concern Form”.  This link is actively monitored by HR and HSD to achieve a timely resolution to member issues.  

Thank you and please sign up for the WEA HCR Conference on February 12.  The first 25 HEA members who submit their conference receipt will be reimbursed after their attendance is confirmed by WEA.  Finally, be inspired--attend RECN’s third annual equity conference coming up soon-registration and details are below.

So much appreciation for you all!

Sandy


1. Superintendant Candidate Interviews

Interested in joining the HEA Superintendent Interview Team?  On February 14, 15, and 17 the school board is scheduling finalists to visit the district.  In addition to attending the open forum held at the end of each day, HEA has been invited to assemble a team on those three mornings to pose our questions to each candidate in person. The plan is for representatives to attend all three sessions (7:15-7:45AM) with release arranged for educators at early start schools for travel time back to their school if needed.  Preference will be given to members who can attend all three dates.  The final team will be a combination of HEA leaders and rank and file members.  The interview team will be named by February 6 with a planning meeting scheduled for February 10 after school.  Thank you for your interest.  Share your interest in participating using this link.  Please complete it by January 29. Note that depending on COVID rates, our interviews may be transitioned to zoom.


2. The Rainier Educators of Color Network 

3rd Annual Equity Conference

Friday February 4th -- 6 PM - 7:30 PM

Friday keynotes: Dr. Paolo Larano and Dr. Khalila Fordham

Saturday February 5th -- 8 AM - 4:00 PM

Saturday Keynote: Dr. April Baker-Bell

Registration is OPEN! Use this link

#equity #recn #RECNEquityConference3 #recnequityconference

#IAmAGEE [I am a Gladiator for Educational Equity] #Unapologetic


3. HSD Responses to the

HEA Rep Proposals 

1. Transparency. HSD will consider transitioning the district to remote learning If teacher absences rise above 250 per day, and/or if they do not have enough support staff to provide supervision for student safety.  

Along with staff absence numbers, other factors they will consider in a decision to transition to remote learning include: 

  • The rate and trend of COVID infections in schools and in the community. 
  • The student absence rate. 
  • The trendline for staff and student absences. 
  • The presence of new variants and their impact on serious illness and hospitalizations. 
  • Guidance from the state and local public health authorities, OSPI, and Governor Inslee regarding school operations.  

   The following data is shared daily with HEA leadership:

2. Safety Resources.   Resources from the spring return related to mask wearing and age-appropriate lessons include safety images & posters to use with students.  HSD’s communications team has worked with student leaders to develop branded posters for each high school reminding students about mask-wearing and directing them to the office if they need a high-quality mask.  Age-appropriate lesson materials are available on canvas and were re-communicated in the January 7th Admin Packet.

3. Meeting Expectations. Please reach out to HEA if your principal is directing you to attend meetings in person which seem unnecessary or unsafe and complete this safety concern form. The following meetings must include a remote option:

  • Large, district-led meetings
  • Staff events (attendees participate from their classroom or another school location)
  • All meetings that include family members.

There may be situations in which an in-person option is needed, however, there is no indication a teacher cannot zoom into these meetings.  

4. Keeping Schools Healthy. The district website has pages dedicated to When to Stay Home and Close Contacts & Quarantine.  These pages were updated on Friday, January 14 to reflect the new guidelines issued on Monday, January 10 by WA DOH.  The district website has been updated with information about symptoms, test sites etc.  HSD has communicated the stay-home and quarantine information to families via School Messenger multiple times, most recently on Friday, January 14. These are being supplemented with posters and other printed materials. Reminders are important, and the communications team will make a point of reiterating the guidelines to families anytime they are updated and at regular intervals for the rest of the year.  

 In addition, HSD will continue to promote vaccine and booster clinics in the community to all families whenever they learn of them.  HSD has agreed to amplify the messaging on the importance of vaccination for all students.  

 5. Responding to Symptoms/Cases of COVID.  Every site should follow the protocol for students to go to care/isolation rooms when exhibiting symptoms while at school. Rapid tests are administered to students while in the care rooms. Families are provided with written instructions on when students can return to school. These written instructions are provided in multiple languages.  

Custodians must clean care rooms after each use.  Concerns regarding fidelity to safety protocols should be first raised with the Covid Captains, building or department leader.  If the issue is unresolved, then your concern should be reported to Human Resources using the COVID Safety Concern Form.

6. Universal Cleanliness Routines. Concerns regarding fidelity to safety protocols should be first raised with the Covid Captains, building administrators or department leader.  If the issue is unresolved, your concern should be reported to Human Resources using the COVID Safety Concern Form. 

7. Contact Tracing and Testing Combined with Isolation and Quarantine.  While guidance was updated recently, districts throughout the state continue to have limited access to tests.  HEA and HSD are meeting Wednesday to continue discussions of these key safety issues.  In the meantime, staff can access the HSD website for the most updated information starting on Wednesday.

8. Sick Leave Pool.  HEA and HSD are using labor/management meetings to create an ESSER-funded COVID leave pool for all employees (not just HEA) who have depleted their sick leave.  Details are being finalized to ensure the pool is available to all staff.

9. Time and Compensation.  Current contract language applies to Central Office and In-Building Specialists who can be pre-approved to make up work outside the school day when needed for substitute coverage during the day.  They will, however, receive the ESC rate ($39.64/hour) for that work and will only receive the temporary loss of planning rate ($100/hour) when losing their planning substituting for a classroom teacher.  Specialists assigned a full-day assignment should not be required to cover during the teacher’s planning periods.  Given that the need for emergency coverage appears to be extending into February, talks between HEA and HSD over appropriate mitigation continue as well.

10. Healing.  ILEDs will continue to work with principals to reinforce the importance of attending to the social and emotional wellbeing of the school community, allowing for flexibility and grace during this current context.  The SEL team continues to offer supports for teachers as they prioritize the social and emotional well-being of students. Professional learning opportunities are listed on the PD Calendar with additional resources. All teachers are encouraged to attend and respond to the social-emotional needs of students through regular check-ins and SEL instruction utilizing these resources. 

Tools for adult wellness are available on the SEL Canvas page  and the district Wellness page. School SEL leads as well as HSD’s centralized SEL  and Social Service and Mental Health teams are also available as resources for individual teachers or school teams.  


4. WEA Winter Training

WEA winter (January-March 2022) certification training opportunities include five trainings options:

  • Teacher & Educational Staff Associate (ESA) Certification 101
  • Professional Growth Plan (PGP) Support
  • National Board Information Sessions
  • National Board Home Stretch
  • National Board Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Jump Start & Support

All course information and registration links are housed at this common WEA website.   


5. SEBB Hearing Benefit

A message from HEA’s Audiologist, Josh Olmstead.  HEA members, their spouses, and all other public employees in WA state receive coverage for hearing aids under SEBB. Highline Audiology & Hearing Aids in Burien has been reaching out to remind us to encourage you to set up a screening appointment, to take advantage of your benefits.