Spread the word » Facebook Twitter

In this issue: HEA Member Survey

  1. Black Lives Matter at School Resources for Educators
  2. Bring RECN Equity Conference Learning into Our Classrooms (new sign-up link!)
  3. Updates on the Des Moines City Council Position 
  4. Use this Safety Concern Reporting Form
  5. Upcoming Event and Activities (including WEA's HCR Leadership Conference tomorrow)
February 11, 2022
Dear Supporter,
Our MOU guarantees the school district provide layers of protection to limit the spread of the COVID virus in our workspace and schools.  According to the science, masks have been an important layer for keeping transmission low.  As COVID continues to evolve, our expectation is that science, not politics, should drive any decisions to change any layering guidelines.  If that expectation is not followed by the state, then we will need to actively engage our members and our community to ensure that science is driving masking and other mitigation strategies in Highline.

We are currently collecting member input on mask wear requirements and other COVID-related issues.  We ask that you take 5-10 minutes to complete our HEA Member Winter Survey About 25% of members have completed the updated survey in the last 24 hours. Results will be used:  
in weekly labor-management problem solving;
by the bargaining team for the next COVID MOU negotiations;
in conjunction with WEA to develop local and statewide union responses to changes in guidelines.

Finally, the HEA representatives of the Executive Board, Rainier UniServ Council, and 2022 Bargaining Team are meeting this afternoon.  The focus is on the development of a bargaining survey to gather member input along with strategies to support member participation and engagement during the months ahead.  Veteran members, please reach out to those with whom you work who may have never participated in a local bargain.  Share with them the importance of their engagement and the significance that contract changes will have to their practice and career in the years ahead.  Read future EFocus newsletters for details on how you can get involved along with specifics on the bargaining schedule.

My best,


P.S.  Please be sure to join the livestream townhalls held with superintendent finalists next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 6:15 and be ready to share your feedback. Finalist names were released at 1:28 PM today. 

1. Black Lives Matter at School Resources 

Your union dues were put to work on developing curriculum supports for you!  Our very own Rainier UniServ Council/Rainier Educators of Color Network (RECN) leaders have assembled and written toolkits for Black Lives Matter at School Resources for Primary through High School.  While BLM at School is always the first week of February, these resources are great to use throughout the month and all year long.

2. Bring RECN Conference

Equity Learning into Our Classrooms!

Members are encouraged to dig deeper into Dr. Baker-Bell’s book, Linguistic Justice: Black Language, Literacy, Identity, and Pedagogy, which brings together theory, research, and practice to dismantle Anti-Black Linguistic Racism (a term Baker-Bell coined) and white linguistic supremacy. This resource provides ethnographic snapshots of how Black students navigate and negotiate their linguistic and racial identities across multiple contexts.  She captures what Antiracist Black Language Pedagogy looks like in community with Black youth. Linguistic Justice provides a range of multimodal examples and practices through instructional maps, charts, artwork, and stories that reflect the urgent need for antiracist language pedagogies in our current social and political climate. (citation here)

Fill in this link if you are looking for support in your practice or at your school through a book study or other group activity.

3. Update on the Des Moines City Council:

Comment on the Upcoming City Council Appointment

Recently, a Des Moines city council member resigned. Yoshiko Grace Matsui is applying for that appointment.  Yoshiko is one of the candidates who did not make it through last August’s primary.  Last fall,  she reached out to HEA to express her interest in building a relationship with the teacher’s union and school district to develop strategies to better meet the needs of Des Moines area students and their families.  Here is the bio she provided:

Yoshiko has lived for nearly 15 years in the North Hill neighborhood of Des Moines.  She is a dedicated public servant who has worked for the City of Seattle for 10 years, first as a Recruiter and now as a Public Safety Civil Service exams administrator where she supports the hiring needs of both the Seattle Police and Fire Departments. Prior to that she worked in Student Activities, supporting BIPOC, LGBTQA+, and non-traditional students at the University of Puget Sound, University of Southern California, and Scripps College.  She has a Master's in Education from Western Washington University.  Yoshiko is actively involved in Des Moines and has worked with the Des Moines Area Foodbank as a volunteer, the Des Moines Farmers Market, and is currently organizing the Des Moines Community Blood Drive (please join in on Feb 27).  In 2015, Yoshiko was elected to the King County Water District #54 as Commissioner.  This spring, Yoshiko was nominated by King County Council Member Dave Upthegrove to serve on the Conservation Futures Advisory Committee, a committee which seeks to preserve open land for use as farmland, forests, passive parks, and trails.     

Yoshiko has a Master's in Education from Western Washington University and lives with her father, her wife Sile, and three rescue dogs.

Here is a link to fill out a public comment form in regard to her nomination. 

4.  Use this Safety Concerns Report Form

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. Please navigate through the Frontline Central to access and complete the link.

5. Upcoming Events and Activities:

Find details & links on the HEA Events Page

  • Human and Civil Rights Leadership Conference (2.12.22).  Open to all.  This Summit focuses on our collective and individual leadership for racial and social justice from the classroom to the association. Register here today! 
  • HEA Executive Board Meeting (2.28.22@4:30). Members can email HEA Secretary, Katie Utesch  at least 24 hours in advance for the zoom link.  Note: Executive Sessions are closed to members.
  • HEA Representative Council Meeting (03.07.22@4:30). Appointment Ratification Vote for HS Executive Board Representative Amanda Stanley.  Nominations will open for HEA Officer Positions for SY 2022-24 (HS Rep, Elementary Rep, Secretary) To attend, members email HEA Secretary, Katie Utesch at least 24 hours in advance for the zoom link.  Note: Executive Sessions are closed to members.
  • Elementary Trimester Non-paid Day (March 11).  This is not a workday for those who work in elementary schools.  Those with split assignments should either place a non-work day on either January 28 or March 11. Please talk with your administrator.
  • VEBA Retirement Readiness Seminars (March 21, repeated March 29 both @4:30).  This is designed to help you get the most out of your VEBA account. See the HEA Events page.
  • Gold Star Bash (March 24). Meet the Highline Schools Foundation Gold Star nominees. Currently it is scheduled to take place at the SeaTac Community Center. Tickets are $25/$30 at the door.